Though the current crop of teenagers is faced with many new illicit or merely unproductive temptations, some of the historic ones remain. These include alcohol. A drink might be offered at a party, nicked from a parent's drinks cabinet, served at a bar with a nearsighted doorman or purchased from an accommodating corner shop; the sources haven't changed in decades ... and neither have the effects.
Whether you are the teen drinker, the parent, the bartender or the sales assistant, you should be aware that there could be legal consequences of your actions. Perhaps more importantly for parents, we'll give you some justification for imposing a curfew and a late-night sniff test on your wayward teen. We can't guarantee that your teen will consider your actions reasonable though; we're lawyers, not magicians.
First, the vendor. Under the Child Protection Act BE 2546 (2003), a person is forbidden from selling, exchanging or giving away alcohol, other than for medical purposes, to a child who is under the age of 18. The penalty for doing so is imprisonment for up to three months and/or a fine not exceeding 30,000 baht. However, the act goes on to state that if this offence carries a heavier penalty under another law, then the harsher penalty shall be imposed. This leads us back to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Act BE 2551 (2008) that we introduced last week, under which the penalty for selling alcohol to a minor (being a person under 20 in that act) is imprisonment for up to one year. Since this penalty is more severe, it will take precedence over the lesser sentence. Further, under the Liquor Act BE 2493 and an associated regulation, a vendor of alcohol to a person under 18 can have their licence to sell alcohol suspended for six months or revoked.
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