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How-Does-Providing-Alcohol-To-A-Minor-12-47-901-Compare-To-Contributing-To-The-Delinquency-Of-A-Minor-In-Colorado-C.R.S.-18-6-70How Does Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 – Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado – C.R.S. 18-6-701?

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer Email the Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

How Does Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 – Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado? – C.R.S. 18-6-701 – The intersection of these two laws in Colorado has always been complex. Providing alcohol to a minor is at worst – a misdemeanor while Contributing is a much more serious felony.

To understand these two laws – as I always tell my clients – read the laws yourself. This article is intended to do an analysis of the most commonly charged provisions and is intended to help you comprehend how you stand if you are charged and what options you may have.

Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 and 12-47-903 – The Colorado Liquor Code

If you are charged with Providing Alcohol to a Minor under 12-47-901- while serious – it is a misdemeanor in most cases. The possible sentence if you are convicted of this misdemeanor is 6 to 18 months in the County Jail along with a six month suspension of your Colorado driver’s license as well.

While the statute is lengthy and complex –§ 12-47-901. Unlawful acts – exceptions– and its penalties –  § 12-47-903. Violations – penalties since the law is found in the Colorado LIQUOR Code – only certain provisions are commonly charged:

§ 12-47-901. Unlawful acts – Exceptions

[HMS -Note that the very first sentence provides you with important information – ALL of the defenses and exceptions in Colorado’s Minor in Possession Law apply to being charged under this law.]

(1) Except as provided in section 18-13-122 , C.R.S., (HMS – the Minor In Possession Law) it is unlawful for any person:

(a) To sell, serve, give away, dispose of, exchange, or deliver, or permit the sale, serving, giving, or procuring of, any alcohol beverage to a visibly intoxicated person or to a known habitual drunkard;

(a.5) (I) To sell, serve, give away, dispose of, exchange, or deliver or permit the sale, serving, giving, or procuring of any alcohol beverage to or for any person under the age of twenty-one years.

(II) If a person is convicted of an offense pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a.5) for serving, giving away, disposing of, exchanging, or delivering or permitting the serving, giving, or procuring of any alcohol beverage to a person under the age of twenty-one years, the court shall consider the following in mitigation:

(A) After consuming the alcohol, the underage person was in need of medical assistance as a result of consuming alcohol; and [Good Samaritan Law]

(B) Within six hours after the underage person consumed the alcohol, the defendant contacted the police or emergency medical personnel to report that the underage person was in need of medical assistance as a result of consuming alcohol.[Good Samaritan Law]

(b) To obtain or attempt to obtain any alcohol beverage by misrepresentation of age or by any other method in any place where alcohol beverages are sold when such person is under twenty-one years of age;

(c) To possess alcohol beverages in any store, in any public place, including public streets, alleys, roads, or highways, or upon property owned by the state of Colorado or any subdivision thereof, or inside vehicles while upon the public streets, alleys, roads, or highways when such person is under twenty-one years of age;

(d) To knowingly, or under conditions that an average parent or guardian should have knowledge of, suffer or permit any person under twenty-one years of age, of whom such person may be a parent or guardian, to violate the provisions of paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (1);

(e) To buy any vinous or spirituous liquor from any person not licensed to sell at retail as provided by this article except as otherwise provided in this article;

(f) To sell at retail any malt, vinous, or spirituous liquors in sealed containers without holding a retail liquor store or liquor-licensed drugstore license, except as permitted by section 12-47-301(6) (b) or any other provision of this article;

(g) To manufacture, sell, or possess for sale any alcohol beverage unless licensed to do so as provided by this article or article 46 or 48 of this title and unless all licenses required are in full force and effect;

CRS Section 12-47-903 Provides For The Penalties For A Violation Of Section 12-47-901

§ 12-47-903. Violations – penalties

(1) (a) Any person violating any of the provisions of this article or article 46 or 48 of this title or any of the rules and regulations authorized and adopted pursuant to such articles is guilty of a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars for each offense.

(b) The penalties provided in this section shall not be affected by the penalties provided in any other section of this article or article 46 or 48 of this title but shall be construed to be in addition to any other penalties.

(2) Any person violating any of the provisions of section 12-47-901(1) (a), (1) (f), (1) (g), (1) (i), (1) (k), (1) (l), (5) (a) (I), or (5) (b) or section 12-47-902.5 commits a class 2 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501 , C.R.S.

(2.5) A person violating the provisions of section 12-47-901(1) (a.5) commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501 , C.R.S.

(3) Any person violating any of the provisions of section 12-47-901(1) (b) or (1) (c) commits a class 2 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501 , C.R.S.

For the second conviction and for all subsequent convictions of violating the provisions of section 12-47-901(1) (b) or (1) (c), the court shall impose at least the minimum fine and shall have no discretion to suspend any fine so imposed; except that the court may provide for the payment of such fine as provided in subsection (4) of this section.

(4) At the discretion of the court, the fines provided for violations of section 12-47-901(1) (b) and (1) (c) may be ordered to be paid by public work only at a reasonable hourly rate to be established by the court who shall designate the time within which such public work is to be completed.

(5) Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of section 12-47-901(1) (a.5), (1) (d), or (1) (k) or any person who knowingly induces, aids, or encourages a person under the age of eighteen years to violate the provisions of section 12-47-901(1) (a.5), (1) (b), or (1) (c) may be proceeded against pursuant to section 18-6-701 , C.R.S., for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Being Charged Under How Does Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 - Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado - C.R.S. 18-6-701 - 1 for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

Section 5 means this – if in Colorado, you provide alcohol to a child under the age of eighteen years, the law provides that you may be charged with the more serious crime of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, a class four felony under C.R.S. 18-6-701.

This felony requires the mental state of KNOWINGLY (see defenses below) – that is = knowingly inducing, aiding or encouraging a child to violate any law… to include 12-47-901.

Here is the crime: (and a LINK to another article)

A person commits the offense of contributing to the delinquency of a minor if he or she ” induces, aids, or encourages a child to violate any federal or state law, municipal or county ordinance, or court order.”            § 18-6-701(1).

A Single Act Can Violate More Than One Criminal Statute

While A single act can violate more than one criminal statute – the law also provides that the specific criminal law trumps the general. What that means is if there is a specific criminal statute that precludes an act then you cannot be charged with both the specific AND the general law because by passing a specific criminal law the legislature intended to limit prosecution to ONLY that specific statute.

Therefore the DA must charge prohibited conduct under the liquor code, rather than under a similar provision of the criminal code, unless criminal prosecution is otherwise authorized by the legislature.

If the alleged victim that has been provided alcohol is under the age of 18 years – the Liquor Code expands the criminal liability of that person to the felony found in the criminal code – that is – Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor statute. The DA is free to charge either criminal act – but not both.

Defenses To Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 – Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado – C.R.S. 18-6-701

There are legal defenses to the alleged commission of either or both of these laws. Some examples of these defense include, but are not limited to, some of the following:

  • Falsely Charged – the evidence will not support the charge – the accusing party – usually an irresponsible juvenile – is lying to achieve some goal or end, (custody battle, abandonment ideas, jealousy etc.)
  • Defense Of Mistake of Fact or Mistake Age – Here – the juvenile has a false ID – has lied – or otherwise tricked you into providing him or her alcohol. There was no possible way you could have known their true age.
  • The Alleged Juvenile Acted Without Your Approval And Behind The Scenes – If you took steps to stop a juvenile from drinking – (as a parent or legal guardian) – such as locking up the alcohol – and otherwise controlling the availability of alcohol as well admonishing not to drink trying your best to dissuade them – and they still obtained alcohol over your objections – you have a defense to either charge.

Statutory Defenses – Found In The Minor In Possession Statute 18-13-122

As noted above – there are built in statutory defenses in Colorado’s Minor In Possession Law (LINK HERE). The Good Samaritan Law, the Parental Approval Defense, and the like – search and study these defenses if you are charged with Providing or Contributing charges.

Other Defenses To MIP Colorado Include:

  • The alcohol was possessed or consumed while the minor was legally on private property with the knowledge and consent of the owner or possessor of the property and the alcohol was possessed or consumed with the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian who was present;
  • The alcohol in the minor’s body was due solely to the ingestion of a confectionery or a substance not intended for human ingestion (HMS – weird but true) and
  • The possession or consumption took place for religious purposes and is therefore protected by the first amendment to the United States Constitution.

Compare Contributing To The Delinquency – 18-6-701 – A Very Dangerous “Kitchen Sink” Type Charge

The reasons to be wary of both of these charges cannot be overstated. Another article about giving parties or permitting your children to throw or attend parties is addressed in this article

Colorado criminal charges do not come broader than this crime.

Essentially any time you involve a child in the commission of a crime – you can be charged with this broad crime. In this context – if the crime involves the use of alcohol, the situation applies to introducing the act of drinking to a child in a very intentional – non-religious manner…like teaching your son to drink “like a man” ….bad idea.

Losing Your Driver’s License – Colorado Revised Statutes 42-2-125: Mandatory Revocation of Licenses and Permit

If you are convicted of Providing – supplying alcohol to persons under 21: (CRS 12-47-901) the  Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend, for 6 months, the driving privilege of that person if they are convicted. By the way – this is also true if you are convicted of providing identification for a minor under 21 to use to purchase alcohol under CRS 42-2-125.

Here is the actual law:

42-2-125. Mandatory revocation of license and permit.

(1) The department shall immediately revoke the license or permit of any driver or minor driver upon receiving a record showing that such driver has:…

(m) (I) Been convicted of violating section 12-47-901 (1) (b) or (1) (c) or 18-13-122 (2), C.R.S., or any counterpart municipal charter or ordinance offense to such sections and having failed to complete an alcohol evaluation or assessment, an alcohol education program, or an alcohol treatment program ordered by the court in connection with such conviction; or….

(2) Unless otherwise provided in this section, the period of revocation shall be not less than one year; except that the period of revocation based on paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection.

(1) of this section involving a commercial motor vehicle transporting hazardous materials as defined under section 42-2-402 (7) shall result in a revocation period of three years.

(2.4) After the expiration of the period of revocation pursuant to this section and any subsequently imposed periods of revocation, any person whose license is revoked under subparagraph (I) of paragraph (g) or paragraph (i) of subsection (1) of this section shall be required to have a restricted license pursuant to the provisions of section 42-2-132.5.

How Does Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 – Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado – C.R.S. 18-6-701?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article – How Does Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 – Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado – C.R.S. 18-6-701?, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg - Over 30 Years MedallionH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.


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Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article -How Does Providing Alcohol To A Minor 12-47-901 – Compare To Contributing To The Delinquency Of A Minor In Colorado – C.R.S. 18-6-701? 


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H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
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