While younger kids have fun trick-or-treating on Halloween, many teens get their spooky good time on by having Halloween parties. Funky costumes, ghoulish makeup, good food, and games make parties the place to be.
That and the fact that quite often alcohol is served at these parties.
If you think about it, this is obvious. Alcohol has been a thing at teen parties since… well, since teens have been having parties. Why would Halloween be any different?
Unfortunately, this is a huge problem. Not only has research found that large numbers of teens attend Halloween parties and that many guests become severely intoxicated, but there are also legal issues to worry about: namely, MIP laws.
Minnesota’s Minor in Possession Laws Don’t Take a Holiday on Halloween
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a great adage to remember. Helping your teen make the right choices on Halloween can save a lot of heartache later.
Most importantly, your teen needs to be aware of the consequences of getting caught should he or she decide to consume alcohol. Minnesota Minor In Possession of Alcohol Laws state the following:
- A minor may possess or consume alcohol in the parent’s or guardian’s home.
- A person under the age of 21 may not go into a business to buy or deliver alcohol.
- A person who is 21 or over may not allow a minor to use his ID to purchase alcohol.
- An identification card may be confiscated by a business if the owner believes it is fake.
Violation of the law is a misdemeanor. Fines range from $100-$1,000 and carry a possible jail sentence of up to 90 days.
It doesn’t stop with MIP laws either. How exactly will your teen be getting to and from this party?
Minnesota Teens Who Drink and Drive on Halloween Can Run Afoul of DWI Laws
Teens who will be driving on Halloween have an incentive to stay sober. If fear of being involved in an accident isn’t enough to keep your teen away from alcohol, a discussion of DWI laws may help.
While the consequences of getting caught for possessing alcohol are bad, getting caught driving while intoxicated is far worse.
Underage Drinking and Driving
A 16- or 17-year-old who violates Minnesota’s DWI statutes is not sent to juvenile court. The teenager will be subject to adult penalties. All DWI laws apply to all drivers, regardless of their age.
Additionally, our state has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. Young adults can expect to receive a misdemeanor and driver’s license suspension if convicted of DWI.
According to our DWI laws:
- a driver under the age of 21 is automatically arrested when police find that there is alcohol in his or her system
- installation of an ignition interlock device is likely
- their license can be revoked
- mandatory attendance at alcohol education classes can be ordered
- community service can be required
- the vehicle can be confiscated
Teens who violate alcohol-related laws may not get licenses – or even learner’s permits – until the age of 18.
Violations include open bottles as well as underage drinking. According to the open bottle law, it’s a crime to drink alcohol or possess an open bottle of alcohol in a vehicle that is on the road.
There there’s the literal price. DWI costs can be as high as $20,000 when considering court costs, increased insurance premiums, and legal fees.
In addition, a driver who is underage can be charged with additional offenses such as distributing alcohol to minors (if other minors in the vehicle are drinking) and – as mentioned above – minor in possession of alcohol.
A knowledgeable Minnesota criminal attorney can work with you to devise an effective legal strategy if your teen has violated an alcohol-related law.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).