Colorado Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges and Penalties

In Colorado, it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to consume or possess alcohol. These minor in possession (MIP) laws aim to prevent underage drinking. If you have any amount of alcohol in your body, upon your person, or within your immediate control, officers can request that you take a breath test to determine whether you have consumed alcohol.

Drinking and Possessing Alcohol

It is illegal to consume or possess alcohol in Colorado if you are under the age of 21. If you are convicted of violating this law, the judge can impose the following penalties:

  • First Conviction—You will be ordered to pay a fine of not more than $250 and your driver’s license will be suspended for three months.
  • Second Conviction—You will be ordered to pay a fine of not more than $500 and your driver’s license will be suspended for six months.
  • Third or Subsequent Conviction—You will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor offense and ordered to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and sentenced to not more than 12 months in jail. Your driver’s license will be suspended for one year.
  • The judge may require you to perform up to 24 hours of community service.
  • You may also be ordered to complete an alcohol assessment or evaluation.
  • You may be required to attend an alcohol education or treatment program at your own expense.
  • You will also be required to pay a penalty surcharge of $25 that will be given to the adolescent substance abuse prevention and treatment fund.

(Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-13-12)

Selling or Giving Alcoholic Beverages to a Minor

It is a crime for anyone to sell, serve, give away, or permit the sale of an alcoholic beverage to anyone under the age of 21. Violation of this law is a Class 2 misdemeanor offense.

The penalties include the following:

  • You will be sentenced to not less than three months and not more than one year in jail.
  • You will be ordered to pay a fine ranging from $250 to $1,000.

(Colorado Revised Statutes Section 12-47-901 and Colorado Revised Statutes Section 12-47-903)

Civil Liability For Social Hosts

Any social host who knowingly serves alcohol to a person under the age of 21 can be held civilly liable if the minor causes property damage, or injures or kills another person due to intoxication.

(Colorado Revised Statutes Section 12-47-801)

To learn more about the MIP laws, read Title 12 Article 47 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. If you are facing MIP charges in Colorado, contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice.

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