Mixing alcohol and a person who is under the age of 21 can result in various charges—underage consumption, underage drinking, and driving as well as furnishing alcohol to a person under 21. At Brandt Criminal Defense, we represent clients facing underage drinking charges in Minneapolis, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Anoka, MN, and Hopkins, MN.
It is a misdemeanor for people under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. However there is an exception to this law for alcohol consumed in the home of the person’s parent or guardian with the parent or guardian’s consent.
It is also against the law to sell, furnish, barter, or give beverages containing alcohol to individuals under the age of 21. This can result in a gross misdemeanor charge.
Minnesota law also prohibits consuming alcohol while under the age of 21 and driving. Underage drinking and driving is defined as a person under the age of 21 driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of an alcoholic beverage; This includes the presence of any alcohol in the person’s system. If a person under 21 is convicted of underage drinking and driving, they will lose their driver’s license and might end up with a permanent criminal record. If you’ve been charged with an offense involving underage drinking, an experienced underage drinking attorney from Brandt Criminal Defense can guide you through the process and help reduce the confusion and stress that accompanies underage drinking charges.
If you or a loved one is facing charges of underage drinking in Minneapolis, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Anoka, MN, or Hopkins, MN, you need the advice of an experienced underage drinking attorney.
Please contact our office at 763-421-6366 to schedule a free consultation.
Underage Drinking Information & Guides
Where no other penalty is specified a violation of any provision of this chapter is a misdemeanor:
- A minimum fine of $100 must be assessed
Consumption (MINN. STAT. § 340A.503 subd.1(a)(2))
It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years to drink alcoholic beverages.
Purchasing (MINN. STAT. § 340A.503 subd.2)
It is unlawful for any person:
- to sell, barter, furnish, or give alcoholic beverages to a person under 21 years of age;
- under the age of 21 years to purchase or attempt to purchase any alcoholic beverage unless under the supervision of a responsible person over the age of 21 for training, education, or research purposes. Prior notification of the licensing authority is required unless the supervised alcohol purchase attempt is for professional research conducted by postsecondary educational institutions or state, county, or local health departments; or
- to induce a person under the age of 21 years to purchase or procure any alcoholic beverage, or to lend or knowingly permit the use of the person’s driver’s license, permit, Minnesota identification card, or other form of identification by a person under the age of 21 years for the purpose of purchasing or attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage.
Possession (MINN. STAT. § 340A.503 subd.3)
It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years to possess any alcoholic beverage with the intent to consume it at a place other than the household of the person’s parent or guardian. Possession at a place other than the household of the parent or guardian creates a rebuttable presumption of intent to consume it at a place other than the household of the parent or guardian. This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.
Entering licensed premises (MINN. STAT. § 340A.503 subd.4)
- It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years to enter an establishment licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages or any municipal liquor store for the purpose of purchasing or having served or delivered any alcoholic beverage.
- No ordinance enacted by a statutory or home rule charter city may prohibit a person 18, 19, or 20 years old from entering an establishment licensed under this chapter to:
- perform work for the establishment, including the serving of alcoholic beverages;
- consume meals; and
- attend social functions that are held in a portion of the establishment where liquor is not sold.
Attainment of age (MINN. STAT. § 340A.503 subd.5a)
With respect to purchasing, possessing, consuming, selling, furnishing, and serving alcoholic beverages, a person is not 21 years of age until 8:00 a.m. on the day of that person’s 21st birthday.
Proof of age; defense; seizure of false identification (MINN. STAT. § 340A.503 subd.6)
- Proof of age for purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages may be established only by one of the following:
- a valid driver’s license or identification card issued by Minnesota, another state, or a province of Canada, and including the photograph and date of birth of the licensed person;
- a valid military identification card issued by the United States Department of Defense;
- a valid passport issued by the United States; or in the case of a foreign national, by a valid passport.
- In a prosecution under subdivision 2, clause (1), it is a defense for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant reasonably and in good faith relied upon representations of proof of age authorized in paragraph (a) in selling, bartering, furnishing, or giving the alcoholic beverage.
- A licensed retailer or municipal liquor store may seize a form of identification listed under paragraph (a) if the retailer or municipal liquor store has reasonable grounds to believe that the form of identification has been altered or falsified or is being used to violate any law. A retailer or municipal liquor store that seizes a form of identification as authorized under this paragraph must deliver it to a law enforcement agency, within 24 hours of seizing it.
If proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it is an affirmative defense to a violation of this clause that the defendant consumed the alcoholic beverage in the household of the defendant’s parent or guardian and with the consent of the parent or guardian.
If proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it shall be an affirmative defense to a violation of clause (1) that the defendant is the parent or guardian of the person under 21 years of age and that the defendant gave or furnished the alcoholic beverage to that person solely for consumption in the defendant’s household.
Anytime you are charged with underage drinking in Minnesota, you should do two things:
1. Contact a criminal defense attorney; and,
2. Do NOT talk to the cops.
Only in extremely rare circumstances do we recommend communicating with the cops and any decision to do so should be made with the advice of counsel and with an attorney present that is familiar in handling underage drinking cases.