You know that the legal drinking age is 21 right now in Virginia. This is true all across the United States. You have to be 21 years of age or older to legally purchase alcohol.
But has it always been that way? Many young people today just assume that that’s how the law has always worked, but that’s not actually the case.
The drinking age was briefly lowered
Interestingly, the drinking age did start out at 21 when it was first established. However, this age was then lowered in 1974 all the way down to 18 years old. After that, it was raised to 21 for harder alcohols, like whiskey or gin, but the limit for beer was only raised to 19 years of age or older.
It stayed that way until 1985 when the drinking age was raised to 21 for any type of alcohol. This was done in large part because the federal government was threatening to withhold highway funding in states that did not increase the legal drinking age. The government took this aggressive stance because it was thought that increasing the drinking age to 21 would cut back on drunk driving accidents. So, while not everyone in 1985 wanted to raise the drinking age, that is what lawmakers opted to do.
Are you facing underage drinking charges?
What this means is that you may be facing underage drinking charges even though your parents, when they were your age, would have been legally allowed to drink. If this happens to you, be sure you know what defense options you have.