Kentucky Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges and Penalties

Kentucky has minor in possession (MIP) laws designed to discourage minors from possessing or consuming alcohol. Here is a summary of some of Kentucky's MIP laws and their penalties.

Minors Possessing & Purchasing Alcohol

In Kentucky, if you are under age 21, you may not:

  • Possess, purchase, or attempt to purchase alcohol. Also, you may not ask another person to purchase an alcoholic beverage for you.
  • Enter a business with a liquor license for the purpose of obtaining alcohol.
  • Use a fake or altered identification to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol.

Anyone who is under the age of 18 and is found violating these laws will be treated as a juvenile.

Anyone older than age 18 who violates these laws will be charged a fine of up to $250 and jail time up to 90 days for the first offense. Subsequent offenders will face a fine up to $500 and jail time up to one year.

Kentucky Revised Statutes 244.085, Kentucky Revised Statutes 244.990

Kentucky Zero Tolerance For Minors

If you are under age 21, Kentucky's "zero tolerance" law prohibits you from driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 02%. For adults over age 21, the BAC limit is .08%. This means even one drink may make it illegal for you to drive. If you get charged and convicted of a driving with a BAC over .02%, the possible penalties include:

  • driver's license suspension for 30 days to six months
  • a $100-$500 fine, and
  • 20 hours of community service in lieu of paying the fine.

Kentucky Revised Statutes 189A.010

Allowing Minors to Remain on Premises

Businesses that sell alcohol may not allow anyone under the age of 21 to remain on the premises where alcohol is sold or consumed, unless:

  • The normal business is a hotel, motel, restaurant, convention center, convention hotel complex, racetrack, simulcast facility, golf course, private club, park, fair, church, school, athletic complex, athletic arena, theater, small farm winery, distillery or brewery or winery tour, convenience store, grocery store, drug store, or similar establishment;
  • All alcoholic beverages are kept in a separate and locked department at all times whenever minors are present.
  • The business has written approval from the state to allow minors on the premises until 10pm, if the main event is a family or community event such as a wedding, reunions or festival, or
  • The business is an entertainment facility where tickets are sold or reserved before the event. For this exception, additional requirements must be met – including that minors can only be in the facility during the time of the concert and thirty minutes before or after.

Kentucky Revised Statutes 244.085(6)(a)(b)(c)(d)

Selling Alcohol to a Minor

It is against the law for any business with a liquor license to give or sell alcohol to a person who is under 21 years of age. However, the establishment won't be held liable if the underage minor purchased the alcoholic beverage using a false or altered identification, the minor appeared to be of legal age, and there would have been no other way for the business to know that the person was underage.

Kentucky Revised Statutes 244.080

To learn more about the Kentucky MIP laws, read Chapter 244 "Alcoholic Beverages" in Title XX of the Kentucky Revised Statutes.. If you are facing MIP charges in Kentucky, contact a criminal defense lawyer for legal assistance.

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