An amended ordinance in Pacific now makes it illegal for minors to consume intoxicating beverages.
The Pacific Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the change during the June 3 meeting. The previous Pacific ordinance only prohibited the purchase or possession of alcohol by minors.
“This incorporates the consumption element of the minor of possession,” City Attorney Matt Schroeder said.
Under the amended law, city police officers don’t need a physical container of alcohol. Police can now cite minors just for being intoxicated.
Pacific’s ordinance is now in line with the state law.
Police Chief Matt Mansell said an effort was made to make the laws match up, but somehow the final approval never got done.
“This has been in the works for a while,” Mansell said. “Unfortunately it slipped through the cracks a little bit. We had a couple of cases that showed up, and we were like, ‘Oh, wait a minute,’ so it needed to be updated.”
Alderman Mike Pigg asked if the new ordinance had an exception for drinking at home. Pigg said he was told the previous ordinance granted an exception to underage drinkers, as long as they were at a family member’s home with the family present.
Schroeder said exemption is still in place, however, the revised ordinance will allow police more ways to cite underage drinkers.
Because the exemption only applies to families, Schroeder said, if police were to break up a party, anyone who is underage and not a relative of the homeowner could now be cited for consumption. Police no longer need to see the physical evidence.
Schroeder said the adults could also be cited for providing alcohol to minors.
The board had no objections to the ordinance change.