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What Would Happen If…

For more information on the following and other violations, please contact the Columbia Police Department.

I am caught drinking as a minor?

It doesn’t matter if you are caught by University Police, Columbia Police, or Alcohol and Tobacco Control: illegal consumption, possession, or distribution of alcohol by a minor is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may be fined up to $1000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year. In addition to fines, you will need to pay court costs and attorney fees. If you are a student and your violation occurs on campus, parental notification could take effect if you are under 21.

I use or am in possession of a fake ID?

Any person who is less than 21 years of age, who uses a reproduced, modified, or altered license for the purpose of purchasing, asking for, or in any way receiving any intoxicating liquor can be charged with a misdemeanor.

I am drinking in public?

Effective August 28th, 2005, Missouri law states that if the police have reason to suspect that you have been drinking and you are under 21, they can charge you with “minor in possession by consumption”. This means that even if you are not holding the alcohol container, but have consumed alcohol, you can be charged with an MIP. Additionally, any person who possesses an open container of alcohol on any street, sidewalk or city parking facility could be charged with a misdemeanor.

I am driving while drunk?

The legal BAC limit for DWI is .08. Those under 21 could be found guilty of a Zero Tolerance violation if their BAC is above .02. Consequences could include: fines, license revocation, classes, community service, and jail time, as well as misdemeanor or felony charges on one’s record. Visit for more information on University policies.

I have drugs or open containers of alcohol in my car?

In Missouri, anyone under 21 years old and operating a motor vehicle with either alcohol or illegal drugs in their possession can have their driver’s license revoked for 90 days. The Abuse and Lose law also requires that your license be revoked for 90 days if you commit any of the following offenses: any alcohol related traffic offense; possessing or using an illegal drug; altering a driver’s license; trying to use someone else’s driver’s license. Second and subsequent offenses result in a one year license suspension.

I play my music loudly?

Music that disturbs others or that can be heard at a distance of 50 feet or more is prohibited between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am. You could be charged with a misdemeanor and be fined up to $1,000. Any music from a vehicle that can be heard at a distance of 50 feet is prohibited at any time. Yelling and shouting that disturbs others is illegal at any time.

I shoot fireworks in the city limits?

As of October, 2012, it is illegal to own or shoot off fireworks in the City of Columbia. Any person possessing or discharging fireworks within the city limits shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

My party gets out of control?

A nuisance party is defined on page 44 Columbia police officers are authorized to order those attending a nuisance party to disperse. It is unlawful for any person who does not live at the site of the nuisance party to fail or refuse to leave the premise immediately after being told to leave by a Columbia police officer.

Penalties can range $500 (first time offense) to $4,000 (second time offense). Jail time is also a possibility.

I urinate in public?

Any person found urinating in public can be charged with a misdemeanor.

I receive stolen property?

It is illegal to receive stolen property. It is illegal to steal street signs or to receive stolen street signs. Any person caught could be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value.

I leave trash in my yard?

Properties must be kept clear of excessive trash. Yards of all homes must be kept clear of inappropriate items such as tires, appliances, furniture, etc. Leaving trash in your yard could result in a special pick-up fee of $50 or more. Also, do not keep your indoor furniture such as couches and arm chairs on your porch or in your lawn. More information about trash collection can be found on page 46

I trespass?

Any person found trespassing on a private lot can be charged with a misdemeanor.

I park my car on grass?
  • Vehicles cannot be parked at any time on grass or yellow lines, or with the left side of the vehicles to the curb.
  • Vehicles cannot block, be parked on or across sidewalks or driveways.
  • Parking your vehicle in a public place for longer than 24 hours and leaving a wrecked or dismantled vehicle on a public street or private property is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to operate unlicensed vehicles (this includes expired license plates and vehicles with no license plates).