Alcohol Laws in Missouri

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The alcohol laws of Missouri are among the least restrictive and most lax and permissive in the United States. Nicknamed the "Show Me State" for Missourians' well-known stalwart, conservative, non credulous attitude toward regulations in general. Missouri is known throughout the Midwest for its largely Laissez-faire approach to alcohol regulation, in sharp contrast to the very strict alcohol laws of some of its neighbors, like Kansas and Oklahoma.

Missouri's lax alcohol laws compared to other states include:

  • Blanket liquor laws without regard to alcohol percentage, allows almost any kind of alcoholic product in the world.

  • Legalized public intoxication, and no statewide prohibition on drinking in public, which provides unique drunkenness scenes and behaviors.

  • No statewide vehicle open container law, which allows passengers (but not drivers) to consume alcohol openly.

  • No limitation on the types of locations that can sell liquor, allowing places like drug stores and gas stations to sell hard liquor.

  • No Strict Blue-laws, allowing most places to sell alcohol on Sundays.

  • 3:00 PM bar closing hours in St. Louis, Kansas City, and surrounding areas.

  • Allowing residents over 21 to manufacture up to 100 gallons of any alcohol for personal use each year, without any state limitation or taxation.

  • A person could avoid a DUI by refusing to take a chemical test (i.e. breathalyzer), when so requested by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause, and will result in a one-year suspension of the suspect's driver's license.

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Missouri's laissez-faire approach to alcohol regulation also stems from its position as the leading alcohol-producing state in America, well known for wine production in the Missouri Rhineland and for beer production in St. Louis by Anheuser-Busch, which produces Budweiser. Anheuser-Busch is the principal advocate of keeping Missouri's alcohol laws as lax as they are.

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Like every other state in the United States, driving under the influence is a crime in Missouri, and is subject to a great number of regulations outside of the Liquor Control Law. Missouri's maximum blood alcohol level for driving is .08% for persons over the age of 21 and .02% for minors and adults under age 21.

In Missouri, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine for a person under 21 to represent by virtue of displaying a fake ID that he or she is over 21 for the purposes of purchasing or possessing alcohol. Additionally, it constitutes a separate misdemeanor under the Liquor Control Law if the minor reproduced or altered the ID himself, punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

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A minor in possession (MIP) of alcohol or a business or person which furnishes alcohol to a minor is guilty of a misdemeanor, although for sellers there are numerous defenses and exceptions.Missouri is one of six states, however, with a unique exception which allows a minor to be furnished alcohol by his or her parent or guardian. Of course, if a parent or guardian purposefully intoxicated his or her child, it would be a form of child abuse. Rather, this sort of law allows parents to let their children have a small amount of liquor with a meal, at social gatherings, in religious services, or otherwise use alcohol in moderation.

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