Many people think that if you're under 21 you're forbidden from drinking a beer. Well, that's just not the case in the Hudson Valley.

It turns out that the alcohol laws in New York are a bit more complicated than most people realize. While everyone agrees that kids shouldn't be bellying up at the local bar, lawmakers in New York think what happens in your own home is your own business.

The Washington Post reports that there at least 37 states across the country that have some sort of exception when it comes to underage drinking. New York's actual law is very different from what the liquor authority actually advertises. Web searches for New York's drinking laws turn up definitive statements such as "if you're under 21 years old, it is a violation of the law to possess alcohol with the intent to consume." The real law, however, reads differently.

A look at New York's actual beverage control shows that the state is actually more concerned with what happens at bars and restaurants. When it comes to drinking at home, there's a pretty big exception for kids who are given alcohol by their parents:

A person under the age of twenty-one years may possess any alcoholic beverage with intent to consume if the alcoholic beverage is given ... to the person under twenty-one years of age by that person's parent or guardian.

It turns out that it's perfectly legal for a parent to serve their kid a pint of beer at dinner. But whether that's a smart idea or not is a totally different issue. While the act of serving your child alcohol isn't enough to get you arrested, it can be seen as endangerment and lead to all sorts of other legal issues that could land you in real trouble.

So yes, it's legal for your kid to drink, but it's still a terrible idea and you can certainly wind up with all sorts of legal problems.

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