Minnesota Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Laws vary by county as to where and how alcohol may be sold. Typically, alcoholic beverages are available for purchase in retail package stores, but some areas only allow sales from state-owned stores. Beer and wine are sold in convenience and grocery stores in areas where state-owned stores are not mandatory. Generally alcohol is sold from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, but not Sundays. Alcohol may be served at bars and restaurants seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to drink in Minnesota, as in all states. However, an individual can work as a server in a restaurant or as a bartender, and may sell alcohol in a liquor store or retail store at age 18.
Open Container Laws
Open containers of alcohol are not allowed in vehicles, so all previously opened bottles of alcohol must be transported in the vehicle’s trunk.
A driver is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ if chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) indicates a BAC (blood-alcohol content) over .08 percent. ‘Per se intoxication’ means that the state needs no further evidence in order to convict a driver of DUI (driving under the influence).
‘Zero tolerance laws’ target underage drivers who imbibe alcohol. In Minnesota, young drivers may not test at any BAC - .00 percent or more – without incurring DUI penalties.
If a driver tests at .20 percent or more over the legal limit of .08 percent, or refuses to comply with chemical testing, enhanced penalties are available to the courts.
‘Implied consent laws’ require a driver to comply with a police officer’s request for breath, blood, or urine testing for intoxication. Refusal may incur mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year.
Suspension of a driver’s license by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) is an option with the first DUI offense (90 days); for the second offense, 180 days; for the third offense, one year.
With the third DUI conviction, the courts can confiscate a driver’s vehicle either permanently or temporarily. Also with the third conviction, an ignition interlock device may be installed at the driver’s expense.
Education or treatment for alcohol abuse can be required for DUI offenders after the third DUI conviction.
DUI is considered a felony only if it causes a death.