You probably already know that the legal drinking age in Connecticut is 21, and perhaps you know that the same limit applies in all 50 states. The federal regulation that set the minimum drinking age at 21 nationwide may be more recent than you realize, however. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Minimum Drink Age Act has only been in effect for 34 years after it passed in 1984. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act not only made it illegal for minors to purchase alcoholic beverages, but it also made it illegal for them to possess alcohol in public. Nevertheless, almost one quarter, 9.3 million or 24.3 percent, of Americans age 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol during the previous month on the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

These results suggest that federal strictures on underage drinking are not enough to combat the problem, so the states have taken it upon themselves to impose penalties upon adults who allow minors to drink alcohol at social gatherings. Connecticut is one of 30 states that impose criminal penalties on adults that allow minors, which according to the statute refers to people under the age of 21, to consume alcohol on premises under the adults' control.

The law expressly applies to those who exercise control or dominion over private property or a dwelling unit, so those who rent property are not exempt. The law also holds accountable those who fail to make reasonable efforts to halt the possession of alcohol by underage persons, not just those who actively serve alcohol to minors. It is class A misdemeanor to violate the provisions of this statute. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only. 

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