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Old Jun 11, 10, 11:16 am   #1
 
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Wine through US Customs - Under 21

I'll be returning from to the US from France in a week and am hoping to bring back a few bottles of wine that I have purchased. I know you are limited to essentially one bottle, but I'm planning on bringing 3 back to the States. They are gifts for my family, as I personally don't drink alcohol. I'm 20 years old and was curious if anyone could suggest how I should declare the wine (Alcohol vs. Gifts, etc.) and what the chances of Customs searching my bag are. Thanks.
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Old Jun 11, 10, 12:09 pm   #2
 
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unofficial title: Help me break the law

I disagree with the US's minimum drinking age. That said, immediately after you bring the wine bottles into the US, you are technically a "minor in possession of alcohol". In most, if not all states, this is a misdemeanor which can result in your arrest. Rather than explore the possibility of "getting away with it", why not just explore the options of simply shipping the wine to your of-age relatives?
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Old Jun 11, 10, 12:30 pm   #3
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You are subject to whatever restrictions are in place at your port of entry for age, amounts, etc.

So if you declare the wine, and customs knows you are under 21, they will take it from you.

If you do not declare the wine, and they see it (I have never declared wine, and they have never questioned it, even if the bags were scanned), they will still take it from you.

The know before you go brochure

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/...egulations.pdf

clearly states you need to be 21 to bring back wine or other alcohol.

Honestly, since the customs form does not ask if you have any alcohol or not, I would probably not mention it, as if you do there's no way they will let you have it if they know you are under 21. They may still find it, but they may just wave you through.
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Old Jun 11, 10, 1:17 pm   #4
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Alcohol

I agree with both posts. If you are 20 you could be cited and you will loos the wine. Shipping seems to be your only option.
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Old Jun 11, 10, 1:24 pm   #5
 
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declare it as gifts and be prepared to loose it - worst that can happen is that they'll take it.
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Old Jun 11, 10, 3:42 pm   #6
 
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the Customs guys have no choice but to take it away from anyone under 21 who declaed the wine.

can you imagine the number of lawsuits they'll face if they don't?
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Old Jun 11, 10, 4:06 pm   #7
 
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The law is clear: under 21, no alcohol may be imported. So the question is, "can I get away with it?" Probably, but if they do find out and decide to make an example of you it will be costly.
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Old Jun 11, 10, 4:45 pm   #8
 
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Been there, done that. If US Customs selects you for a random inspection, they will confiscate the alcohol and you may be charged with a misdemeanor .

I was caught bringing in a few bottles of Dutch gin as as a gift in 2003 or so . I was asked to sign a paper stating that I was relinquishing the alcohol voluntarily, after which the agents went with me to the restroom and poured out the gin . Not quite sure what the point was, possibly to show that they weren't actually keeping it.

The whole process took well over an hour, so I ended up missing my connection (luckily was able to get on another flight just a few hours later)


In other words, you will probably not get selected. But if you do, be prepared to lose whatever alcohol you are bringing in and be very polite and respectful - the agents have the ability to charge you if they so desire.
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Old Jun 12, 10, 10:32 am   #9
 
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I personally wouldn't do it, but I think your chances of getting away with it are pretty good.
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Old Jun 12, 10, 12:07 pm   #10
 
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If you are going to try, will it be in checked or hand luggage??

Personally I would never put in my checked luggage but others do. If in hand luggage and you have a connecting flight, you will have to drink it upopn arrival as you will not be allowed to board your domestic flight.

Also the carrier and airport security in Europe may well have aproblem
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Old Jun 12, 10, 12:11 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eireman View Post
If you are going to try, will it be in checked or hand luggage??

Personally I would never put in my checked luggage but others do. If in hand luggage and you have a connecting flight, you will have to drink it upopn arrival as you will not be allowed to board your domestic flight.

Also the carrier and airport security in Europe may well have aproblem
It would have to be in checked baggage, as even if EU airports allow one to bring 750+ ml bottles of wine in hand baggage onto intra-EU flights (which I doubt), the hand-baggage still gets re-screened prior to boarding the TATL segment.
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