Know the Law

The laws around minors using drugs, alcohol or unauthorized prescription drugs include severe penalties.

Colorado Law

  • In Colorado, recreational marijuana and alcohol are legal, but only for persons 21 and over.
  • It’s a felony if someone over 21 gives recreational marijuana to someone under age.
  • Medical marijuana is only legal if you have a medical marijuana recommendation from a physician.
  • Depending on the drug involved, use of a prescription drug not prescribed for you by a physician can be a felony.
  • The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates the costs associated with a DUI charge (blood alcohol content of .08 or greater) to be $10,000+ and includes lawyer fees, rising insurance rates, fees to get a license back, probation supervision fees, etc.
  • Even trace amounts of alcohol are punishable to people under the age of 21.



In partnership with the Douglas County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is asking for your help in preventing teen substance use and the potential for teen-related DUI crashes and deaths.

DCSO will be conducting “Party Patrols” to deter underage substance use during peak party ties such as prom, graduation, and school vacations.

Douglas County is a thriving community that promotes the health and safety of all youth. As part of a county-wide initiative, DCSO is requesting the help of the community in deterring teen drinking and substance use by reporting teen parties where these behaviors could potentially be occurring.

Although alcohol and marijuana are legal for adults, it is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy for youth younger than 21.

Most parents in Douglas County do not provide alcohol or marijuana to youths and the Douglas County Sheriff’s office wants adults to be aware of the consequences of providing alcohol or marijuana to minors.

  • It is a petty offense for a minor to possess alcohol, marijuana, or marijuana paraphernalia.
  • It is a felony for anyone to possess a narcotic, unless it is prescribed to them by a doctor.
  • It is a felony to induce, aid or encourage a minor to commit any level of crime. So if you allow your kids or other kids to violate any state law you could be charged with a felony.
  • It is legal to allow YOUR kids to drink when YOU are present, but it is not legal to allow other kids to drink at your house, or for your kids to drink at someone else’s house.
In 2015 there were 5 total motor vehicle crashes affecting 14 people with an adolescent driver (aged 15-20) at fault under the influence of drugs in Douglas County.


Any person younger than age 21 caught with or suspected of consuming alcohol or marijuana is charged with Minor in Possession (MIP). Punishments include:

  • First offense: Fine up to $100 and/or required completion of a substance abuse education program
  • Second offense: Fine up to $100, the required completion of a substance abuse education program, a possible order for substance abuse assessment and related treatment, and 24 hours of public service.
  • Third offense: Fine up to $250, the required completion of a substance abuse assessment and any related treatment, and up to 36 hours of public service

If your child is caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she could be required to do community service, take educational courses, receive steep fines, lose their license or even face jail time.

For additional information about the laws/punishments related alcohol and drug use, visit No DUI Colorado.