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Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys

LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF UNDERAGE DRINKING

THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF UNDERAGE DRINKING
MINOR IN POSSESSION/CONSUMPTION LAWS IN KANSAS AND MISSOURI

Although it has been against the law for persons under the age of 21 to drink or possess alcohol for many years, due to an increased awareness of the dangers of underage drinking, new laws have been adopted that impose significant penalties for those under the age of 21 who are convicted of consuming or possessing alcohol.
In addition to theses laws, there is an increased emphasis on enforcement. Jurisdictions throughout the metropolitan Kansas City area have formed an underage drinking taskforce that is taking an aggressive stance in actively pursing underage drinkers. This has included using the resource officers at local high schools to view social networking sites or listen in on student conversations in an effort to locate parties where alcohol might be present. In some instances, police have actually cruised the streets in an effort to find large gatherings of young people and will then attempt to determine whether underage drinking is going on.
At universities, we know that police often watch tail gating parties and parking lots for potential underage drinkers and even will stop students walking back to their dorm if they look as if they have been drinking.
As you will see below, the legal penalties are significant. Fines, potential jail time and the loss of driving privileges, not to mention the legal costs involved, all add up to make underage drinking a costly mistake.

Kansas:
41-727. Purchase or consumption of alcoholic beverage by minor; penalty; exceptions; tests.

(a) Except with regard to serving of alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage as permitted by K.S.A. 41-308a, 41-308b, 41-727a, 41-2610, 41-2652, 41-2704 and 41-2727, and amendments thereto, and subject to any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to such statutes, no person under 21 years of age shall possess, consume, obtain, purchase or attempt to obtain or purchase alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverage except as authorized by law.
(b) Violation of this section by a person 18 or more years of age but less than 21 years of age is a class C misdemeanor for which the minimum fine is $200.
(c) Any person less than 18 years of age who violates this section is a juvenile offender under the revised Kansas juvenile justice code. Upon adjudication thereof and as a condition of disposition, the court shall require the offender to pay a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $500.
(d) In addition to any other penalty provided for a violation of this section:

(1) The court may order the offender to do either or both of the following:

(A) Perform 40 hours of public service; or
(B) Attend and satisfactorily complete a suitable educational or training program dealing with the effects of alcohol or other chemical substances when ingested by humans.

(2) Upon a first conviction of a violation of this section, the court shall order the division of vehicles to suspend the driving privilege of such offender for 30 days. Upon receipt of the court order, the division shall notify the violator and suspend the driving privileges of the violator for 30 days whether or not that person has a driver's license.
(3) Upon a second conviction of a violation of this section, the court shall order the division of vehicles to suspend the driving privilege of such offender for 90 days. Upon receipt of the court order, the division shall notify the violator and suspend the driving privileges of the violator for 90 days whether or not that person has a driver's license.
(4) Upon a third or subsequent conviction of a violation of this section, the court shall order the division of vehicles to suspend the driving privilege of such offender for one year. Upon receipt of the court order, the division shall notify the violator and suspend the driving privileges of the violator for one year whether or not that person has a driver's license.

(e) This section shall not apply to the possession and consumption of cereal malt beverage by a person under the legal age for consumption of cereal malt beverage when such possession and consumption is permitted and supervised, and such beverage is furnished, by the person's parent or legal guardian.
(f) Any city ordinance or county resolution prohibiting the acts prohibited by this section shall provide a minimum penalty which is not less than the minimum penalty prescribed by this section.
(g) A law enforcement officer may request a person under 21 years of age to submit to a preliminary screening test of the person's breath to determine if alcohol has been consumed by such person if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has alcohol in the person's body except that, if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person has been operating or attempting to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the provisions of K.S.A. 8-1012, and amendments thereto, shall apply. No waiting period shall apply to the use of a preliminary breath test under this subsection. If the person submits to the test, the results shall be used for the purpose of assisting law enforcement officers in determining whether an arrest should be made for violation of this section. A law enforcement officer may arrest a person based in whole or in part upon the results of a preliminary screening test. Such results or a refusal to submit to a preliminary breath test shall be admissible in court in any criminal action, but are not per se proof that the person has violated this section. The person may present to the court evidence to establish the positive preliminary screening test was not the result of a violation of this section.
(h) This section shall be part of and supplemental to the Kansas liquor control act.

Missouri:
Purchase or possession by minor, a misdemeanor--container need not be opened and contents verified, when--consent to chemical testing deemed given, when--burden of proof on violator to prove not intoxicating liquor--section not applicable to certain students, requirements.

311.325.

1. Any person under the age of twenty-one years, who purchases or attempts to purchase, or has in his or her possession, any intoxicating liquor as defined in section 311.020 or who is visibly in an intoxicated condition as defined in section 577.001, RSMo, or has a detectable blood alcohol content of more than two-hundredths of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in such person's blood is guilty of a misdemeanor. For purposes of prosecution under this section or any other provision of this chapter involving an alleged illegal sale or transfer of intoxicating liquor to a person under twenty-one years of age, a manufacturer-sealed container describing that there is intoxicating liquor therein need not be opened or the contents therein tested to verify that there is intoxicating liquor in such container. The alleged violator may allege that there was not intoxicating liquor in such container, but the burden of proof of such allegation is on such person, as it shall be presumed that such a sealed container describing that there is intoxicating liquor therein contains intoxicating liquor.
2. For purposes of determining violations of any provision of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation of the supervisor of alcohol and tobacco control, a manufacturer-sealed container describing that there is intoxicating liquor therein need not be opened or the contents therein tested to verify that there is intoxicating liquor in such container. The alleged violator may allege that there was not intoxicating liquor in such container, but the burden of proof of such allegation is on such person, as it shall be presumed that such a sealed container describing that there is intoxicating liquor therein contains intoxicating liquor.
3. Any person under the age of twenty-one years who purchases or attempts to purchase, or has in his or her possession, any intoxicating liquor, or who is visibly in an intoxicated condition as defined in section 577.001, RSMo, shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test or tests of the person's breath, blood, saliva, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of the person's blood. The implied consent to submit to the chemical tests listed in this subsection shall be limited to not more than two such tests arising from the same arrest, incident, or charge. Chemical analysis of the person's breath, blood, saliva, or urine shall be performed according to methods approved by the state department of health and senior services by licensed medical personnel or by a person possessing a valid permit issued by the state department of health and senior services for this purpose. The state department of health and senior services shall approve satisfactory techniques, devices, equipment, or methods to be considered valid and shall establish standards to ascertain the qualifications and competence of individuals to conduct analyses and to issue permits which shall be subject to termination or revocation by the state department of health and senior services. The person tested may have a physician, or a qualified technician, chemist, registered nurse, or other qualified person at the choosing and expense of the person to be tested, administer a test in addition to any administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer. The failure or inability to obtain an additional test by a person shall not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the test taken at the direction of a law enforcement officer. Upon the request of the person who is tested, full information concerning the test shall be made available to such person. Full information is limited to the following:

(1) The type of test administered and the procedures followed;
(2) The time of the collection of the blood or breath sample or urine analyzed;
(3) The numerical results of the test indicating the alcohol content of the blood and breath and urine;
(4) The type and status of any permit which was held by the person who performed the test;
(5) If the test was administered by means of a breath-testing instrument, the date of performance of the most recent required maintenance of such instrument.
Full information does not include manuals, schematics, or software of the instrument used to test the person or any other material that is not in the actual possession of the state. Additionally, full information does not include information in the possession of the manufacturer of the test instrument.

4. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a student who:

(1) Is eighteen years of age or older;
(2) Is enrolled in an accredited college or university and is a student in a culinary course;
(3) Is required to taste, but not consume or imbibe, any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage as part of the required curriculum; and
(4) Tastes a beverage under subdivision (3) of this subsection only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of the curriculum of the accredited college or university.
The beverage must at all times remain in the possession and control of an authorized instructor of the college or university, who must be twenty-one years of age or older. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to allow a student under the age of twenty-one to receive any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage unless the beverage is delivered as part of the student's required curriculum and the beverage is used only for instructional purposes during classes conducted as part of the curriculum.

[In Missouri, violation of this statute is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a jail term of up to one year and a fine of not more than $1,000.00.]

Avoiding and Dealing With Minor In Possession/Consumption Charges
The best way for a minor to avoid a minor in possession/consumption charge is simply not to drink. Having said that, we have seen situations where even kids who were not drinking at a gathering received a ticket for MIP.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the charge, we know the hardships associated with an alcohol related conviction and recommend that a minor obtain appropriate legal representation by an attorney who regularly handles cases of this type. In some instances, the arrest made may be successfully challenged and in many cases a diversion agreement may be reached with the prosecuting attorney in order to avoid an alcohol related conviction and loss of driving privileges.
The lawyers at the Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys would be happy to assist you in finding appropriate legal counsel.

James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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