Is It Illegal To Drink Alcohol In Public (UK Laws Explained)

London(Parliament Politics Magazine) – According to UK law, there is no general prohibition when it comes to drinking on the street. However, there can be certain offenses related to consuming alcohol in public areas. Councils can take an action to use public spaces protection orders. It helps with the restriction on the consumption of alcohol in many public areas. Some areas in the UK consider publically drinking an anti-social behavior and it can lead to fines or a penalty in some cases. You cannot drink heavily in a controlled drinking area. Moreover, if you misbehave with someone after being drunk it can be a big problem for you.

Is It Illegal To Drink Alcohol in Public?

If you are in the UK you need to understand the laws of drinking publically. Everyone has to understand that it is not illegal to drink alcohol in public areas. However, there can be some restrictions and you must follow the right rules regarding that. If your behavior is anti-social it can lead to a penalty. If the Government has declared a few zones where you cannot drink it is best to remain careful. You cannot misbehave with someone or fall on the street after drinking too much. There is a specific age limit set by the Government. If you are below 18 it is not allowed to purchase alcohol or carrying or drinking. 

If the police find an individual who is engaged in anti-social behavior it can lead to an offense. When you fail to comply with a direction and don’t leave the area, it will lead to fines. Other offenses may include getting drunk and making noise in public areas.

You cannot get drunk while moving on the highway or any other such area. All these laws are set by England and Wales or Northern Ireland. If you are over 18 there are lesser restrictions on you even if you are drunk in public. When you drink alcohol where it is practically banned it can lead to a fine. If the situation is intense the police may arrest you for misconduct and breaking laws.

Alcohol & Public Transport

If you are drunk you cannot enter any public transport service in the UK. For example, if you are carrying an open container of alcohol or consuming in public transport it is prohibited. Whether you are taking a bus, tram, tube, or Docklands Light Railway in London, follow the rules properly. The Scotland train services also restrict people from consuming alcohol on public transport. As these areas are crowded you need to make sure that a bad activity doesn’t occur. You must maintain silence and peace while riding on public transport or drinking in certain areas.

Usually, drunk people lose sense and do inappropriate things. All the Translink trains and buses in Northern Ireland stop people from drinking in public. The same alcohol restrictions apply to many other bus and train services. If you are not sure about the rules check with your operator. You may get a ban if you don’t follow the terms and conditions for the passengers set by the operator. In any case, if you refuse to follow rules, get ready for the police to intervene.

Many rail services in the UK that go for long-distance routes allow drinking in public. However, everything will depend on the rules set by the operator. If they don’t want the passengers to drink it will be their choice. Many operators don’t allow you to carry alcohol if the train is going to football matches or any sports event. If you are caught breaking the rules, you may have to leave the public transport. Many times notices are put up to remind and warn the passengers of these rules.

What Happens When You Drink in Public?

As we have already discussed the UK has set certain laws for drinking alcohol in public areas. You may be allowed to drink in a few places while in others it may get a restriction. If you are caught drinking in a non-drinking zone it will lead to heavy fines. The police have the authority to arrest you on the spot without saying anything. It is normally an offense to get drunk on any train or public transport in the UK. If you break the rules here, get ready to have a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) and heavy fines. You may be asked to leave the public transport if you are heavily drunk.

If you are under 18, the rules will be stricter than what you expect. Throughout the UK there is a strict rule for people who are under 18. When you drink alcohol in public you will be stopped, fined, or even arrested by the Police officers. People above 18 have to take care of places that have council restrictions though. The police have the power to confiscate your bottle or move people away from the public area. Pub and café owners are not allowed to serve alcohol to under 18 people.

Read More: Is It Illegal To Be Drunk In A Pub (UK Rules Explained)

What Are The Consequences of Public Indecency While Drunk?

The 1872 Act is outdated now but some parts of it are still fresh. If you are acting indecently in a public area and are heavily drunk it can lead to breaking the law. When your public behavior is considered obscene or disgusting it will create a lot of problems. If other people feel that your behavior is disgusting or shocking they can even complain to the police.

In this way, you can be prosecuted with a heavy fine or an arrest. If you feel that you can go hysterical after drinking or indulging in bad activities somewhere in public, it is an offense. You cannot justify your actions in any way.

Theft and vandalism are big crimes in the UK. If you are caught drunk and stealing it can land you in bigger trouble. Make sure that you follow all these drinking laws in the UK that saves you from consequences. However, drinking laws can vary depending on the area you are living in. If you are living in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or England, rules may differ. You need to be sure of the laws in your region and keep yourself safe. Probably it is best if you drink on licensed premises only.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.