The possession of intoxicating liquor by a person under the age of 21 is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Missouri known as a minor in possession (MIP). If you have multiple minor in possession charges, you also risk losing your driving privileges under Missouri’s Abuse and Lose Law.
The Definition of Missouri’s Minor in Possession Law and the Associated Penalties
A minor in possession charge encompasses a broad range of conduct involving the possession of alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Under Missouri’s alcoholic beverage regulations, the following activity can lead to a minor in possession charge:
- Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol
- Having alcohol in your possession, which can include more than just holding it in your hand (e.g., having it in your car, a locker, or another place that is in your control)
- If you are in a visibly intoxicated condition
- If you have a detectable blood alcohol level of more than two-hundredths of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in your blood
A first offense for a minor in possession charge is a Class D misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to a $500 fine. A second or subsequent minor in possession charge becomes a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,000 along with up to one year of possible jail time.
How a Minor in Possession Charge Can Lead to a Loss of Driving Rights
In addition to the misdemeanor punishments of fines and possible jail time, a minor in possession can also lead to a loss of driving privileges. Under Missouri’s Abuse and Lose Law, a court can revoke your driving privileges for one year following a second offense involving the possession or use of alcohol while under the age of 18.
If committed under the age of 21, the following alcohol-related offenses can cause a 90-day suspension for a first offense or a year’s suspension for a second offense:
- Any traffic offense involving alcohol
- Driving a motor vehicle while using or in the possession of alcohol
Reinstatement of your driving privileges after a minor in possession charge usually requires completion of Missouri’s Substance Awareness Traffic Offender Program (SATOP).
Legal Defense for a Minor in Possession Charge
You may benefit from a legal consultation if you believe you were wrongfully charged with a minor in possession or face an unfair punishment for your minor in possession charge. Michael Taylor is an experienced criminal defense attorney serving Lee’s Summit and the Kansas City area. As a former prosecutor, he understands all sides of the criminal legal system evidenced by case results with dropped charges and acquittals.
Contact The Law Office of Michael R. Taylor today to schedule your free consultation concerning a minor in possession charge or another criminal case.