Department of Recreation and Wellness

Alcohol Education - Policies and Laws

This website is intended to serve as general guidance as we do not presume to offer legal advice. Please consult Student Legal Services with questions about laws, penalties, and your rights. 

Information for this site was obtained from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control and the BGSU Student Legal Services Party Guide and information about Alcohol Laws.

Ohio Alcohol Laws:

  • Underage Consumption, Purchasing or Possession of Alcohol
  • Providing Alcohol to an Underage Person
  • Fake ID
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI)
  • Open Container

Underage Consumption, Purchasing or Possession of Alcohol

In Ohio, the legal age to possess, consume, or purchase alcohol is 21 years old. Possessing, consuming, or purchasing alcohol before your 21st birthday is a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties for offenders under 18 include $250 maximum fine and/or up to 30 days imprisonment. Offenders under 21 may be fined up to $1,000 and/or no more than 180 days imprisonment. Offenders may enter into a Diversion program on a first offense. Additional penalties including license suspension, if violation occurred in a motor vehicle, are possible.

Exceptions: A consenting parent/guardian OR legal-aged spouse can provide alcohol for consumption by someone under 21 if they are present at the time and give consent.

However, a parent cannot provide alcohol for anyone who is under 21 other than their own child, under any circumstance, even in their own home, even with their parent’s permission. Parents cannot knowingly allow a person under 21, other than their own child, to remain in their home or on their property while consuming or possessing alcohol. See Parents Who Host Lose the Most (PDF).

Providing Alcohol to an Underage Person

A person who furnishes alcohol to an underage person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties for offenders under 18 include $250 maximum fine and/or up to 30 days imprisonment. Offenders over 18 are fined $500 to $1,000 and possibly up to 6 months imprisonment.

Exceptions: A consenting parent/guardian OR legal-aged spouse can provide alcohol for consumption by someone under 21 if they are present at the time and give consent.

However, a parent cannot provide alcohol for anyone who is under 21 other than their own child, under any circumstance, even in their own home, even with their parent’s permission. Parents cannot knowingly allow a person under 21, other than their own child, to remain in their home or on their property while consuming or possessing alcohol. See Parents Who Host Lose the Most (PDF).

Fake ID

Possession or display of a fictitious operator's license is a first-degree misdemeanor. The offense includes mere possession of a fictitious license or display of someone else's valid operator's license. It is also illegal to lend, transfer, sell, manufacture or distribute a false ID. Penalties for offenders under 18 include $250 maximum fine and/or up to 30 days imprisonment. Offenders under 21 are fined between $250 and $1000 and possibly up to 6 months imprisonment. Penalties increase with multiple offenses.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct while intoxicated is a minor misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Disorderly conduct can be elevated to a fourth degree misdemeanor (for example, if the person persists after a request to desist). Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct also occurs when one makes unreasonable noise in such a manner as to violate the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or to be detrimental to the life and health of any individual.

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI)

In Ohio, a person may not operate a motor vehicle if he/she is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The maximum penalty for operating a vehicle while under the influence is six months imprisonment (mandatory at least three days in jail) or a $1,000 fine (a mandatory minimum fine of $250) or both. Additionally, the operator must forfeit his/her driving privileges for six months.

Open Container

It is illegal to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both. See Open Container Law.

Party Guide

Consult the Student Legal Services Party Guide for information about Criminal and Civil Liability concerns when throwing a party. 

University Residence Alcohol Policy

Bowling Green State University is committed to maintaining an academic and social environment conducive to the intellectual and personal development, safety and welfare of all members of the University community. While alcohol is a widely accepted part of American culture, students under the age of 21 may not consume or possess alcohol. 

Students who are of legal age may drink in their rooms or in the rooms of people who are also 21 or older. Students who are under 21 and choose to drink are not only violating hall policy, they are breaking the law. Offenders may be subject to the campus conduct process, legal prosecution or both.

  1. The University adheres to and enforces all federal and state legislation governing alcohol.
  2. In a University residence, alcoholic beverages may be possessed or served only in student rooms/suites/apartments where a resident of the room is of the legal drinking age. Alcohol is not permitted in common areas including but not limited to hallways, lounges, recreation areas or outside of a student room or suite.
  3. Common containers including but not limited to beer balls, kegs, wine boxes, and containers of mixed punch of any kind are not permitted.
  4. If residents 21 years of age or older elect to keep alcoholic beverages in the room/suite/apartment, they are responsible for and must take affirmative steps to ensure that underage individuals do not
    gain access to alcohol.
  5. Alcohol may not be sold or purchased in University residences.
  6. Devices that allow for the drinking of large quantities of alcohol, such as a beer bong, are not allowed in University residences.
  7. Alcohol containers (whether full, partially full or empty) may not be possessed or used as decorations by those under the age of 21 in University residences.

For more details on the University Alcohol Policy, including information about the sanctioning process, consult the Student Handbook (page 60-61).