It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or drink alcohol in the State of Texas. Further, no one under the age of 21 can offer false information (a fake ID, for example) in an attempt to attain alcohol, and it is illegal for adults to procure alcohol for minors, sell alcohol to minors, or otherwise provide minors with alcohol. Anyone who is convicted of a violation of these laws faces considerable consequences.
There are Exceptions to the Minor in Possession Laws
The State of Texas recognizes exceptions to the prohibition that makes it illegal for minors to possess or consume alcohol, and these include:
Job – Minors, in the course of their employment, may possess alcohol (but not consume it).
Parents – Minors who are with a parent, legal guardian, or adult spouse may legally possess and consume alcohol.
Police Enforcement – Sometimes, minors who are engaged in police sting operations – and other similar operations – are allowed to purchase and/or possess alcohol under the direct supervision of an officer.
Emergency Medical Assistance – If a minor requests medical assistance for someone who may have overdosed on alcohol, the minor can avoid liability for possession and consumption if he or she is the first to call for help, remains at the scene until the emergency medical help arrives, and cooperates fully with the medical professionals and law enforcement personnel on the scene.
Associated Fines and Penalties for Minor in Possession
If convicted of a minor in possession charge, it is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to $500 in fines. Sometimes, however, a judge will place the minor on deferred disposition, which involves completing a community service requirement that is related to alcohol education, alcohol abuse prevention, or something else deemed applicable and suspending the minor’s driver’s license for a specified time period. Completion of a deferred disposition, however, counts as a prior conviction if a subsequent conviction occurs. (Read more about impaired driving when you are under 21)
Adult Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
The charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor (a more serious charge), which carries penalties of up to $4,000 in fines and/or of up to one year in jail. (Will a DWI charge land me in jail?) If the charge is associated with a social gathering involving alcohol abuse, such as binge drinking or coercing others to drink, the judge may additionally order community supervision, which can include community service and education related to alcohol awareness.
Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney
Minor in possession of alcohol charges and other associated charges are serious charges that can seriously affect your future. Brett Pritchard, at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who is committed to skillfully fighting for your case’s most positive resolution. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.