Missouri Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Private retail stores sell spirits, while beer and wine are available in grocery and convenience stores. Local ordinances prevail on when alcohol may be sold or served.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to drink in Missouri or to work as a bartender. It is legal to work in a restaurant serving alcohol at age 18, and anyone 18 or over may handle alcohol in a retail store where no more than 50 percent of the store’s sales are from alcohol. A supervisor over the age of 21 must be present at all times.
Open Container Laws
With no strong open container law in place, in Missouri it is legal for passengers in a vehicle to drink as long as the driver is not impaired.
Any driver tested with a BAC (blood-alcohol content) over .08 percent is considered ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be charged with DUI on this evidence alone.
A driver under the age of 21 may not chemically test positive for a BAC level more than .02 percent; otherwise, DUI (driving under the influence) charges will be filed.
A driver with an enhanced BAC level more than .15 percent over the legal limit of .08 percent faces harsher penalties.
‘Implied consent laws’ govern drivers suspected of driving under the influence and require them to accede to breath, blood, or urine testing for alcohol content. Refusal carries enhanced penalties that can include mandatory suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year.
A driver’s license can be removed temporarily or permanently by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) for drivers convicted of DUI. For the first DUI offense, the mandatory license suspension is 30 days; for the second offense, one year; for the third offense, one year.
The penalty of vehicle confiscation for DUI conviction – either permanently or temporarily – is a possibility in Missouri under limited circumstances as is installation of an ignition interlock device if ordered by the court. Alcohol education or treatment for alcohol abuse can be required as well.
DUI is considered a felony after the third conviction.