Missouri takes underage drunk and drugged driving offenses very seriously. In an effort to reduce the incident rate of such offenses, it enacted the “Abuse and Lose” law.
According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, Abuse and Lose applies to anyone under the age of 21 who engages in an alcohol or drug-related offense while in control of a vehicle. The punishment for violating the law is license suspension or revocation.
When the Abuse and Lose law applies
A person does not necessarily have to have drugs or alcohol in his or her system to be subject to Missouri’s Abuse and Lose law. Per the statute, the state may administer consequences if it finds a person under 21 years of age guilty of any of the following offenses:
- Any offense that involves the use or possession of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle
- Any offense that involves the use or possession of drugs
- Any alcohol-related offense
- Any offense that involves the modification, alteration or misrepresentation of a state-issued driver’s license
- A second offense that involves the use or possession of alcohol by someone who is not yet the age of minority
The punishment for a first-time Abuse and Lose violation is a driver’s license suspension for 90 days. Subsequent offenses can result in license revocation for up to one year.
Other reasons for court-ordered license suspension/revocation
Persons between the ages of 15 and 21 may lose their driving privileges for several other alcohol- or drug-related offenses. Those include attempting to purchase or actually purchasing an intoxicating liquor, possessing an intoxicating liquor, having a blood alcohol content level higher than 0.20% and being visibly intoxicated. A first-time violation of any of these offenses may result in a 30-day suspension; a second offense may result in a 90-day suspension; and a third offense may result in the loss of driving privileges for up to one year.