4 Myths about Minors in Possession, Busted!

Myth #1: The only way to be ticketed for Minor-in-Possession (MIP) is to fail a breathalyzer test.

False: In the state of Missouri, it’s actually illegal for any person under the age of 21 to appear visibly intoxicated, in addition to having a blood alcohol concentration level of greater than or equal to 0.02%. Minors who are visibly intoxicated, or even appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be cited and pay fines up to $1,000. They could even face jail time. (Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1 and § 577.001)

Myth #2: There are NO EXCEPTIONS to people under the age of 21 possessing, purchasing or attempting to purchase any intoxicating liquor.

False: Actually, there is one exception to this law. It’s called the “College Course Exception” and it applies to a minor who is 18 years old or older, is enrolled in a college or university culinary course (as a student), is required to taste, but not consume, wine or beer as part of their course curriculum, and is under the supervision of an authorized instructor 21 years old or older. The tasting must also be for instructional purposes only for this exception to apply. This might seem like a strange exemption, but pretty reasonable. The beverage must always remain in the possession of the authorized instructor, and that instructor must be 21 years old, or older. (Sources: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.4)

Several other exemptions to the Minor in Possession laws do apply. These include parents or legal guardians allowing their minor to consume alcohol on their property, and licensed doctors who administer intoxicating liquor to a minor for medicinal purposes. (Sources: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.1, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.3, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.2)

Myth #3: A driver’s license is the only acceptable form of ID required to purchase alcohol.

False: In Missouri, any person 21 years old (or older) can present a valid form of ID to prove their age when buying intoxicating liquor. There are several forms of valid ID, all of which must be unexpired and up-to-date, including:

  • Driver’s license issued by ANY state or U.S. Territory
  • Chauffer’s licenses
  • ID cards issued by uniform services of the U.S.
  • Passports
  • Licenses issued by the Missouri Department of Revenue

The ID cards are to be presented to employees of any business licensed to sell liquor. Missouri state law will require the employees to compare the card to the purchaser and can request ID cards for accompanying parties as well. The business won’t be subjected to penalties for illegal sales to minors if that business can prove the employees have complied with Missouri state liquor law procedures and genuinely believed the presenter of that ID was at least 21 years old. (Source: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.328)

Myth #4: You can’t be penalized for attempting to purchase alcohol as a minor, as long as the sale didn’t go through.

False: It is illegal to attempt to purchase alcohol as a minor, as well as possessing it. It is also illegal to reproduce, alter, modify or misrepresent any person’s driver’s license (including chauffer’s licenses, or additional forms of accepted ID). Attempting to reproduce or alter an official ID is a misdemeanor that could carry a $1,000 fine and possibly jail time.

In addition, someone who possesses an illegally reproduced, altered, or modified identification card can be sentenced to $1,000 in fines and/or up to a year in jail. (Sources: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.328.3)

Are you or someone you know facing a minor in possession charge?

We can help you. Contact us today to find out how the Traffic Law Firm of Missouri can represent your case today. We’re ready to help fight your charges and protect your right to drive legally in the state of Missouri.