Missouri Minor in Possession of Alcohol Laws

Legal Age For Drinking or Possessing Alcohol

In Missouri, it is illegal for any person younger than 21 years old to possess, purchase, or attempt to purchase any intoxicating liquor (with some exceptions, see below). Any minor who violates this statute will be guilty of a misdemeanor and the face up to $1000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1

College Course Exception

The above section does not apply to a minor who is:

  • 18 years or older
  • Enrolled in an accredited college or university culinary course as a student
  • Required to taste, but not consume, beer or wine as part of the course, or
  • Under the supervision of an authorized instructor who is 21 years or older for instructional purposes only.

A student who is a minor may receive an alcoholic beverage only if it is a class requirement. The required beverage must always remain in the possession and control of an authorized instructor who is at least 21 years old.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.4

It is Illegal to Appear Visibly Intoxicated

It is also illegal in Missouri for any minor to appear “visibly intoxicated” or have a blood alcohol level of more than two hundredths of one percent. People are visibly intoxicated when they appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. An offender of this section may have to pay up to $1000 in fines and may face up to 1 year in jail.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1 and § 577.001

Possession and Violator’s Burden of Proof

Missouri is unique among states with MIP laws because it has a detailed section describing what must be proven by the state when prosecuting a minor for possession of intoxicating liquor. In Missouri, an unopened container that has manufacturer’s seal and labeling that indicates the container holds alcohol is presumed to contain alcohol. Missouri does not require a sealed and labeled container to be opened in order to prosecute a minor for possession of intoxicating liquor. If a minor alleges that such a container does not contain alcohol, the minor must prove it.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.1 and § 311.325.2

Violator Subject to Breath, Blood, Saliva, or Urine Test

Any minor engaged in behavior that violates the above section may be subjected to two chemical tests of breath, blood, or urine. The chemical tests must be conducted according to methods approved by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The minor being tested may pay to have his or her own doctor, registered nurse, qualified technician or other qualified person conduct an additional test under the direction of a law enforcement officer. However, if the additional test is not conducted, this fact alone will not preclude the original chemical tests from being used as evidence.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.325.3

Sale to a Minor

It is illegal in Missouri for a person to sell, give away, or supply any intoxicating liquor to a person younger than 21 years of age (with some exceptions, see below). It is also illegal for any person to sell, give away or supply any intoxicating liquor to any person who is intoxicated, appears to be intoxicated, or is habitually intoxicated. Any person convicted under this section has committed a misdemeanor and faces up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.1

Exceptions for Supplying Alcohol to a Minor

Missouri allows someone to supply intoxicating liquor to a minor for medicinal purposes or to a licensed doctor who is administering the intoxicating liquor to a minor for medicinal purposes.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.1

Permitting a Minor to Drink On Private Property

Any person or legal entity (except a parent or legal guardian, see below) that owns or controls private property may not allow anyone younger than 21 years old to possess alcohol on the property. Someone who finds a minor is drinking or possessing intoxicating liquor on the property but fails to stop the activity will face up to $500 in fines and up to 6 months in prison for a first offense. Second violators of this section face up to $1000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.3

Parental Exception Allowing Minor to Drink

A minor may drink or possess intoxicating liquor on his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s private property.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.310.2

A Minor May Not Sell or Handle Intoxicating Liquor

In Missouri, it is illegal in most situations for any person younger than 21 years old to sell or assist in the sale of intoxicating liquor. The three exceptions to this general rule are described below.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.300.1

Licensed Vendor Employee Exception

Any business that is licensed to sell alcohol may employ a person 18 years or older to stock, arrange displays and operate a cash register to sell liquor. Any licensed business for whom at least fifty percent of gross sales come from alcohol must have an employee twenty years or older on the premises at all times. Despite this exception, it is still illegal for any person younger than 21 years of age to deliver intoxicating liquor.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.300.2

Storage Facility Employee Exception

Any facility that stores or distributes intoxicating liquor but does not sell intoxicating liquor at retail may employ a person 18 years or older to handle intoxicating liquor as part of his or her employment duties. A licensed wholesaler may employ someone 18 years or older to rotate, stock, or arrange displays at retail stores.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.300.3

Waiter or Waitress Exception

Minors 18 years or older may serve or accept payment for serving intoxicating liquor when working as a waiter or waitress for a business for which at least fifty percent of gross sales come from serving food. However, it is illegal for anyone younger than 21 years old to mix or serve intoxicating beverages across a bar.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.300.4

Acceptable Forms of Identification

In Missouri, any person 21 years or older may present a valid form of identification to prove his or her age when buying intoxicating liquor. Valid forms of identification are:

  • An unexpired driver’s license issued by any state or U.S. territory
  • An unexpired chauffeur’s license issued by a state or U.S. territory
  • An unexpired identification card issued by a uniformed service of the United States
  • An unexpired passport, and
  • Any unexpired license issued by the Missouri Department of Revenue.

When the identification card is presented to an employee of a business licensed to sell liquor, Missouri law requires the employee to compare the physical characteristics in the photograph on the card with the person presenting the identification card. A licensed business will not be subjected to a penalty for an illegal sale to a minor if the licensed business presents proof that the business’ employee fully complied with the above procedure and in good faith believed the purchaser of the alcohol presented a valid form of identification that proved the purchaser was at least 21 years old

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.328

Illegal Reproduction or Altercation of a Driver’s License

It is illegal to reproduce, alter, modify or misrepresent any driver’s license, chauffeur’s license, or identification card. Violating this section is a misdemeanor that carries up to $1000 in fines and or 1 year in jail.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.328.3

Possession of Illegally Reproduced Identification Card

Someone who possesses an illegally reproduced, altered, or modified identification card that states the person represented on the card is older than 21 years of age may be sentenced to $1,000 in fines and/or up to one year in jail.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 311.329

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