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The National Minimum Drinking Age Act

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 established a nationwide, minimum legal age for those wishing to “purchase or publicly possess” alcoholic beverages. It did not establish a minimum legal age for alcohol consumption; that measure was left for the states to handle. Only eight states opted to pass a law regulating the consumption of alcohol. Washington, however, is not one of them.

Prior to 1984, the minimum drinking age was set on a state-by-state basis and underwent a great number of changes. Before the Prohibition Era, which began in 1919, there existed no minimum alcohol purchase or public possession age. During Prohibition, obviously, no one was allowed to sell or make alcohol at all. However, people were allowed to make their own person alcohol (up to a certain annual limit).

When Prohibition ended in December of 1933, many states established the legal drinking age of 21 years. Some set theirs lower, at 18 or 20, but the majority used 21 years. These restrictions remained in place until the Vietnam Era, which spanned the years of 1964-1975. Some states lowered their drinking ages at some point during this period, while others left theirs unchanged.

The State of Washington maintained the same legal drinking age of 21 from the beginning of Prohibition until the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984.

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If you would like to learn more about the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, then the Seattle DUI defense lawyers of Cowan Kirk can help. To speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your situation, contact our offices today at 1-866-822-1230.

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Cowan Kirk is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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