In the United States, it is a general fact that you cannot supply alcohol to an individual who is under the age of twenty-one. In Missouri, the laws in regards to supplying alcohol to a minor have many facets. The general law is surrounded by a variety of exceptions.
In general, if you sell, vend, give away, or otherwise supply an intoxicating liquor in any quantity whatsoever to a person under the age of twenty-one, you may be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Intoxicating liquors are not defined specifically by alcohol content in Missouri. Rather, the Liquor Control Law states that if the beverage contains more than 0.5% alcohol by volume, it falls within this category.
Exceptions to the Law When Supplying Alcohol to a Minor in Missouri
The first exception to a misdemeanor conviction occurs if you are supplying the intoxicating liquor to a minor for medical purposes only. Similarly, if you are administering this liquor to any person as a duly licensed physician, the general rule does not apply.
In so far as within the confines of a home, the law applies to activities in a property as well. If you are the owner, occupant, or any other person or legal entity with the lawful right to use and enjoy a property and you knowingly allow or fail to stop any person under 21 from consuming liquor on the property, you can be found guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Plainly stated, if you are allowing a high school or college party in your house with alcohol present and being consumed, you are within the parameters for a misdemeanor conviction.
The exception to this rule is if you are a parent or guardian and regarding your child. Missouri is one of the few states in the United States that allows a minor to be furnished alcohol by his or her parent of guardian and there are no legal consequences. This allows children to have small amounts of intoxicating liquor with their parents at meals, religious services, gatherings, or other moderate forms. It is important to note that this allowance is with small amounts in moderation. If, as a parent or guardian, you are purposefully intoxicating your child, it can be considered child abuse.
The law also provides for some protections for drinking establishments where minors may frequent with fake IDs. If you are a licensed retailer, club, drinking establishment, caterer, or hold a temporary permit, and you reasonably believe the minor is above the age of 21, this can be used as a defense. The reasonable belief must have spurned from the fact that the minor supplied an apparent official document, such as a fake Missouri driver’s license, stating that they were of age to consume alcohol.
The consequences for a class B misdemeanor conviction range. The fine may be as much as five hundred dollars, and jail time up to six months can also be sentenced. The misdemeanor will then be on your record and can come up in any background checks. Adults, be careful who you buy a drink for.
If you have been charged with supplying a minor with alcohol, contact the attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm in Kansas City, Missouri for help.