In addition to having some of the strictest DUI legislation in the country, Arizona also has many laws that regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. Learn more about Arizona drinking laws with the information below.

Consuming Alcohol in Arizona

  1. It is illegal for a person under 21 to have any spirituous liquor in their body.
  2. It is illegal for any person to consume spirituous liquor in a public place, gathering, or thoroughfare. This does not apply to a person consuming beer from a broken package in a public recreation area or on private property with permission of the owner or on the walkways surrounding such private property. Nor does it apply to a person consuming wine or beer from a broken package in a public recreation area as part of a special event or festival.
  3. It is illegal for a retailer or employee to allow a person under the legal drinking age to remain in an area on the licensed premises during those hours in which its primary use is the sale, dispensing, or consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  4.  It is illegal for any person in possession of a firearm while on the licensed premise of a retailer to consume spirituous liquor.
  5. It is illegal for an obviously intoxicated person to buy or attempt to buy spirituous liquor from a licensee or to consume spirituous liquor on licensed premises.
  6. For a licensee, when engaged in waiting on or serving customers, to consume spirituous liquor.

Drinking in Public in Arizona

As is stated above, it is illegal for any person to drink alcohol in a public place unless they are in a public recreation area or on private property.

However, according to A.R.S. 36-2031, no county municipality or other political subdivision may enforce or adopt any local law, ordinance, or rule having the force of law that includes being a common drunkard or being found in an intoxicated condition as one of the elements of the offense giving rise to criminal or civil penalties or sanctions. This means that no individual in Arizona can be charged with “drunk in public,” “public intoxication,” or “public drunkenness.”

While law enforcement cannot arrest a person simply for being intoxicated in public, they can find another basis for which to arrest you. In most cases, a person will be arrested for disorderly conduct if they are drunk in public and are being disruptive or offensive.

The Sale of Alcohol in Arizona

A.R.S. 4-244 states that it is illegal to do the following:

  1. Buy for resale, sell, or deal in spirituous liquors in this state without first having procured a license duly issued by the board.
  2. For a distiller, vintner, brewer, or wholesaler to knowingly sell, dispose, or give spirituous liquor to any person other than a licensee expect in sampling wares as may be necessary to the ordinary course of business. This does not prohibit donating spirituous liquor to a nonprofit organization which has obtained special event license for the purpose of charitable fundraising activities.
  3. For a distiller, vintner, or brewer to require a wholesaler to offer a grant or discount to a retailer, unless the discount has also been offered and granted to the wholesaler by a distiller, vintner, or brewer.
  4. For any retail licensee to purchase spirituous liquors from any person other than a solicitor or salesman of a wholesaler licensed in this state.
  5. For a licensee to employ a person under 19 to manufacture, sell, or dispose of spirituous liquors. This does not prohibit the employment of persons who are at least 16, if supervised by a person on the premises who is at least 19, to check out or carry spirituous liquor in unbroken packages for the convenience of the customer if the employer sells primarily merchandise other than spirituous liquor.
  6. For a retailer to sell, dispose of, deliver, or give spirituous liquor to a person between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  7. For a retailer to allow a person to consume or possess spirituous liquors on the premises between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  8. For a licensee to knowingly permit any person on the licensed premises to give any spirituous liquor to any person under 21.
  9. For a retailer to conduct drinking contests or to sell any person an unlimited number of spirituous liquor beverages during any set period of time for a fixed price.
  10. For a licensee to use a vending machine for the purpose of dispensing spirituous liquor.
  11. For a licensee to offer for sale a wine carrying a label including a reference to Arizona or any Arizona city, town, or geographic location unless at least 75% by volume of the grapes used in making the wine were grown in Arizona.

DUI: Drinking and Driving Laws in Arizona

A.R.S. 28-1381 states that it is illegal for a person to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

To learn more about Arizona DUI laws, please click here.

Do You Need Help with an Alcohol-Related Case?

As you can see, Arizona drinking laws are numerous and complex. If you were arrested for violating drinking laws in Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, or another Arizona city, the criminal defense lawyers at JacksonWhite will work to fight your charges.


Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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