Alaska Alcohol Laws
With its low population density, Alaska has less strict laws regarding alcohol consumption where it is allowed, but there are many ‘dry’ townships where alcohol cannot be consumed or purchased.
Where to Buy Alcohol
Retail liquor stores sell spirits, beer, and wine, while groceries and convenience stores sell beer and wine. Alcohol can be purchased seven days a week. Bars and restaurants are required to stop selling alcohol at 5 a.m.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
Any person working around alcohol, whether serving, selling, shipping, or stocking, must be 21 years of age.
Open Container Laws
Passengers in a vehicle may consume alcohol from open containers, but the driver may not drink.
A driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) is legally limited to .08 percent, and if this is proven through blood, urine, or breath testing, the driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and it is sufficient to convict a driver of driving under the influence (DUI).
Under ‘zero tolerance laws,’ drivers under the age of 21 who operate a vehicle and register any BAC after testing are subject to DUI penalties.
Drivers suspected of intoxication must cooperate if requested to perform breath, blood, or urine testing for alcohol content. This falls under ‘implied consent laws’ that are automatically enforced when one signs for a driver’s license. Refusing to cooperate can result in penalties such as mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for up to a year.
Alaska enforces minimum mandatory penalties for those convicted of DUI with a BAC of .16 over the legal limit of .08 percent or drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing to determine intoxication.
A driver’s license may be suspended or revoked by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for 90 days for the first DUI offense; for the second offense, one year; for the third offense, three years. With a second conviction the driver’s vehicle may be confiscated, and installation of an ignition interlock device just became a possibility as of June, 2008. Mandatory alcohol education and assessment or treatment is a possible penalty.
DUI is a misdemeanor crime until the third conviction, when it is raised to a felony.