Many minors find themselves under the stiff arm of the law because of alcohol. Often, during high school years it is easy to not make the best decisions when it comes to alcohol. There are usually a lot of parties during these formative years where alcohol is present. Also, there is something about having rules and boundaries as a minor that makes you want to break them. Whatever the reason for possessing or consuming alcohol, there may be major consequences for your actions. It may be a great idea to know the consequences of being a minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri. This may affect your decision making before going to a party where alcohol is served or before asking an older friend to buy you alcohol.
Even though it is prevalent throughout the country that minors are consuming alcohol, it is still illegal for any minor to possess or consume alcohol. Knowing the law in Missouri, the penalties that follow if found guilty, and the assistance needed after you are charged, can allow you to make the best decisions for you future. If you do find yourself sideways with the law, the criminal defense attorneys at Missouri Legal can help ensure that your future is not tainted by a mistake when you were a minor. Seeking the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you move on from breaking the law.
What Constitutes The Crime of Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Missouri?
To start, the law in Missouri states the following concerning a minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri, “it is illegal for any person younger than 21 years old to possess, purchase, or attempt to purchase any intoxicating liquor.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1. This law is extremely strict in the sense that even an attempt to purchase is a violation of the law. That means that you don’t have to consume or actually purchase to be in violation of this law. Essentially the best way to stay out of the firing path of this law is to avoid alcohol or the thought of it completely until you are 21 years old.
Exemption to Minor Consumption of Alcohol in Missouri
However, there is an exemption to this law for college students, called the College Course Exception. The above stated law will not apply to a minor if the following are met as discussed in the article “What You Need to Know About Minor Consumption and Possession of Alcohol in Missouri“:
- Must be 18 years or older
- Must be enrolled in an accredited college or university and is a student in a culinary course that requires the student to taste (not to consume or imbibe) any beer, porter, ale, wine or other fermented beverage as part of the curriculum.
- In addition to the above criteria, the beverage must be tasted under the supervision of an authorized instructor of the college or university that is at least 21 years old.
Other than this exemption, it is absolutely illegal for a minor to consume or be in possession of alcohol. Minor consumption of alcohol in Missouri can be chemically tested in separate ways that will include breath, blood, or urine. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.3. These tests will be able to determine your blood alcohol level. After you have been tested the determination of your penalties will be decided depending on what was found.
What are the Penalties Associated with a Minor in Possession of Alcohol or a Minor Consuming Alcohol?
A minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri can carry some hefty fines and penalties. A minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri is a misdemeanor. If you are a first-time offender and you are convicted of alcohol possession, you may lose your driver’s license for 90 days. This is for first-time offenders. If you have been caught with alcohol before, you may be subject to losing your license for a full year.
In addition to losing your license due to suspension or revocation, the Missouri Department of Revenue has stated the following concerning your driver’s license test, “You are required to retest upon reinstatement if your driving privilege was revoked. You are not required to retest upon reinstatement if your driving privilege was suspended unless your driver’s license expired during the suspension period and has been expired for more than six months (184 days).” Not only may you lose your license, but you may have to retake the driver’s test to get it back. There are many other fun things that you could spend your time doing. Being charged as a minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri, can have a major impact on your life.
If you are convicted as being a minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri, there will be different penalties depending on how many times you have been caught before. The law states in Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1.:
- A first violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed three hundred dollars.
- A second or subsequent violation of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed one year and/or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars
In addition to receiving these fines and imprisonment, you should also worry about this charge being on your record. This charge could potentially cause problems with you operating a vehicle or even getting a certain job as a minor. You should know the risks involved when you are a minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri and that there can also be unforeseen consequences down the road.
How can a criminal defense attorney help?
Criminal defense attorneys at Missouri Legal can help you understand the situation that you are in and may be able to help you receive a less severe punishment. A minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri is a serious charge that could change your life. Criminal defense attorneys will understand the law in the state of Missouri concerning alcohol and minors. Also, they will know how the law is applied in a court setting. They will most likely know the judge and opposing counsel. Having counsel that knows these things may allow you to receive a lesser penalty.
Being a minor in possession of alcohol in Missouri, can set you back on your future goals. Having an experienced attorney in your corner, will always give you peace and hope that things can be better. A criminal defense attorney will know which arguments stick and which ones do not. Comfort can also come from having someone with experience on your side. Overall, asking for help in a tough situation will never hurt you.
For more information Contact Missouri Legal.