Appeal to lower SC's drinking age requirement overturned

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTV) - A circuit court judge ruled Wednesday that efforts to lower the legal drinking age to 18 would create "absurd" results and that the existing 21 age requirement is constitutional.

Rock Hill attorney James Boyd was in court filing an appeal for a client who in 2007 was charged for possession of beer and public disorderly conduct after police said he consumed two beers in one night.

In court on Wednesday, Boyd challenged the state law which bans possession and consumption of alcohol by people who are younger than 21.

There are many in the state who argue that since 18-year-olds are allowed to vote and join the military, they should also be allowed to consume alcohol.

During Wednesday's proceeding, 16th Circuit Judge Lee Alford disagreed with Boyd.  Alford said the rule 21 age requirement is constitutional.

As a result of Alford's ruling, the legal drinking age for York and Union Counties will remain at 21.  He also said the state's legal amendment to the age requirement doesn't go against SC constitutional law.

The only governing body with the power to reverse Alford's ruling is the State Supreme Court.

However, counties in other parts of the state could reverse the rule on an individual basis and lower the drinking age requirement to 18.  Their decision would hold until the state decides to overturn the ruling.