Iowa has minor in possession (MIP) laws to discourage and punish underage drinking and the possession of alcohol by minors. Those under the age of 21 caught possessing, purchasing or attempting to purchase beer, wine, or liquor will be charged with violating the law and ordered to pay a fine.
It is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to purchase, attempt to purchase or have alcoholic beverages in their possession or under their control in a public. The MIP laws do not prohibit minors from possessing or consuming alcohol under the following conditions:
Penalties for underage possession, purchase, or attempt to purchase include:
At the discretion of the court, you may be ordered to perform community service that is an equivalent value to the fine imposed. The hourly rate will be calculated by the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. The Juvenile Justice system will deal with anyone under the age of 18 who violates this section.
Iowa Code Annotated Sections 123.47, 805.8C, and 909.3A
Drivers under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02 % but less than .08% will be subject to the following penalties:
Offenders under the age of 21 will not eligible to obtain a temporary restricted license for at least 60 days after the date of revocation.
Drivers with a BAC of .08 or more will face a misdemeanor charge. Penalties include:
The court may allow you to perform community service in lieu of the fine and it may ask you to complete a substance abuse treatment course.
Iowa Annotated Code Sections 321.J.2, 321J.2A, 321J.12, and 321J.4
Those under the age of 21 who display, alter, or possess a fictitious driver's license for the purpose of obtaining alcohol will lose their license for up to six months. You will be charged with a simple misdemeanor and ordered to pay a fine of $200.
Iowa Code Annotated Sections 321.216B and 805.8A4C
It is against the law for a licensed establishment or its employees to give or sell alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 21. It is the duty of the licensed establishment and its employees to use reasonable care in ensuring that the person is of legal drinking age before serving or selling them an alcoholic beverage. Violating this law includes the following penalties:
Iowa Code Annotated Sections 123.49(2)(h) and 805.8C(2)
It is illegal for a business with a liquor license (and those under the employment of a business with a liquor license) to give or sell alcoholic beverages to a person under 21. Here are the penalties:
Iowa Code Annotated Sections 123.47(4)(5)(6), 903.1, and 902.9(5)
The civil penalties for licensed establishments that sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to minors include:
If the establishment fails to pay the fine its liquor license will be suspended. Administrative sanctions are imposed against the establishment through an administrative hearing.
Iowa Code Annotated Section 123.50(3)(a)(b)(c)(d) and 123.39
To learn more about the MIP laws, read Chapter 123, Alcoholic Beverage Control of the Iowa Code. If you are facing MIP charges in Iowa, contact a criminal defense lawyer for legal assistance.