Minnesota Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol Laws and Penalties

Illegal for Minors to Possess, Consume, or Purchase Alcohol

In Minnesota, it is illegal for any person younger than 21 years old to consume an alcoholic beverage (with some exceptions, see below). It is also illegal in most situations for any minor to purchase, attempt to purchase, or possess an alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume the alcoholic beverage. Minors may not misrepresent their age when attempting to buy alcohol. For purposes of this law, a person is 21 years old in Minnesota after 8:00 a.m. on the day that he or she turns 21. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503.)

Minor May Drink Alcohol While Under Parental Supervision

A minor may possess or consume alcohol with the permission of his or her parent or legal guardian, but only if in the privacy of that parent's or guardian's home. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503.)

Illegal Sale to a Minor

In most situations, it is illegal for anyone to sell or give alcohol to someone under the age of 21 years old. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503.

Minor May Purchase Alcohol for Training, Education, or Research

A minor in Minnesota may buy or attempt to buy alcohol if it is purchased for training, education, or research purposes, but only if the minor is under the supervision of a responsible person at least 21 years old, with prior notification to the state agency that licenses the sale. Prior notification is not needed if the purchase is for professional research done by postsecondary schools or state, county, or local health departments. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503(2).)

Inducing A Minor to Buy Alcohol

It is illegal for any person to persuade a minor to purchase or obtain alcohol. It is also illegal for someone to allow a minor to use his or her form of identification to illegally purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503(3).)

Minors Entering Licensed Business

Generally, it is illegal in Minnesota for any person younger than 21 years old to enter a licensed business to buy, serve, or deliver alcohol. However, a minor 18 years or older may enter a part of a licensed business to perform work for the business as an employee, eat a meal, or attend a social event that is not in an area of the business that sells alcohol. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503(4).)

For Purpose of Buying Alcohol

When buying alcohol in Minnesota, a person may show one of the following to prove his or her age:

  • driver's license that has a photograph and date of birth from any U.S. state or Canadian province
  • military identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. passport, or
  • foreign passport if the person purchasing the alcohol is a foreign national. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503(6).)

Reasonable and Good Faith Defense to Selling Alcohol to Minor

A person who is accused of selling alcohol to a minor may raise as a defense that he or she relied on the minor's presentation of an identification card that proved the minor was at least 21 years old. For this defense to be successful, the accused must prove he or she relied on the identification in good faith and that it was reasonable to do so. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.503(6)(b).)

Seizure of False Identification Card

A business licensed to sell alcohol may confiscate an identification card if the business owner or employee reasonably believes the card is false or has been altered. If the licensed business seizes an illegal card, the card must be turned over to law enforcement within 24 hours. (Minn. Stat. §340A.503(6)(c).)

Violation of Any Minnesota Underage Alcohol Law Is a Misdemeanor

Someone who violates any of the above alcohol-related offenses may be charged with a misdemeanor and may face a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. A minor found guilty of violating any of the above laws faces a mandatory fine of at least $100. (Minn. Stat. § 340A.703 and Minn. Stat. § 609.03(3).)

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