Many minors encounter alcohol in a variety of settings in their life, and Texas strictly limits when people under 21 years of age can possess alcohol. Texas Penal Code § 1.07(a)(39) defines possession as “actual care, custody, control, or management.”
Possession can be actual possession when alcohol is on the person of an alleged offender or constructive possession when alcohol is found in a location for which the alleged offender had dominion or control. Underage possession of alcohol cases can frequently be complicated by a number of other factors.
The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has compiled a list of the following statistics regarding underage teen drinking.
● One in six teens binge drinks, yet only one in 100 parents believe his or her teen binge drinks.
● Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year – that is more than all illegal drugs combined.
● Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver.
● Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.
● High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school.
● Almost half of all 10th graders drink alcohol.
Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney, TX Minor in Possession of Alcohol Attorney
If you or your child was recently arrested or ticketed for possession of alcohol by a minor in Plano, you are right to want to avoid having your child develop a criminal record. Get yourself an experienced lawyer who can fight the criminal charges.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will work tirelessly to make sure you get justice. Our firm can assess all of your legal options as soon as you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges in Collin County
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.05, a possession of alcohol by a minor offense occurs if an individual under the age of 21 possesses an alcoholic beverage.
Possession of an alcoholic beverage includes situations involving “constructive possession.” An example of constructive possession is when a minor is in an automobile where alcohol is readily accessible to any minor passenger in that vehicle. This situation extends to alcohol that is on the car seat, floor, or stored in the trunk of an automobile in which the driver is a minor in possession of the keys that unlock the trunk.
TABC §106.05 also specifically mentions that a minor may possess an alcoholic beverage:
● while in the course and scope of the minor’s employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permittee and the employment is not prohibited by this code;
● if the minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court; or
● if the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code.
This offense is a considered Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00. However, if a minor has 2 prior convictions, the punishment is a fine of not less than $250.00 or more than $2,000.00 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 6 months (§106.071).
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05(a) establishes that a minor commits an offense if they possess an alcoholic beverage. Under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05(b), a minor can possess an alcoholic beverage:
● while in the course and scope of their employment if they are an employee of a licensee or permittee and the employment is not prohibited;
● if the minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court;
● if the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code; or
● if the beverage is lawfully provided to the minor under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.16.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.16 provides that a minor may taste an alcoholic beverage if they are at least 18 years old and are enrolled as a student at a public or private institution of higher education or a career school or college that offers a program in culinary arts, viticulture, enology or wine technology, brewing or beer technology, or distilled spirits production or technology, and in a course that is part of a program described above, the beverage is tasted for educational purposes as part of the curriculum for the course, the beverage is not purchased by the minor, and the service and tasting of the beverage is supervised by a faculty or staff member who is at least 21 years of age.
Minor in Possession of Alcohol Penalties in Texas
Under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.071, possession of alcohol by a minor is a Class C misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $500, but a first conviction can also result in eight to 12 hours of community service and a 30-day driver’s license suspension or waiting period.
When a minor has two prior underage possession of alcohol convictions, any subsequent offense becomes punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail. There may also be a six-month driver’s license suspension or waiting period, and up to 40 hours of community service.
All community service (probation) assigned for underage possession of alcohol in Texas must include alcohol education and/or treatment.
Texas holds parents/adults civilly liable for damages caused by the intoxication of a minor younger than 18 if they knowingly provided alcohol or allowed alcohol to be served on property owned or leased by them and the minor:
● is injured or dies as a result of drinking on the property,
● gets into a fight, falls and hurts themself, or is sexually assaulted,
● damages someone else’s property, or
● leaves and is involved in a motor vehicle accident and causes injury to themselves or others.
Minor in Possession of Alcohol Defenses in Texas
Some minors may be charged with underage possession when they did not know they were holding alcoholic beverages. In some cases, minors may be charged with this crime at parties in which alcohol was found even though the minor did not actually possess any alcohol.
Cases involving constructive possession may mean that other minors or even parents were the actual possessors of alcohol. A minor may also be able to avoid criminal penalties if they requested emergency medical assistance for themselves or someone else with a possible alcohol overdose.
In some instances, it’s legally permitted for the minor in Texas to possess, buy, or consume alcohol, including:
● For the purpose of doing his or her job, a minor employed by a business serving alcohol may legally possess alcohol. However, he or she may not consume alcohol as a minor.
● When directly supervised by a parent, adult spouse or guardian, a minor may consume or possess alcoholic beverages.
● If a minor individual is working with law enforcement during a sting operation (such as for the purposes of trying to identify businesses that sell alcohol to minor individuals), he or she may purchase, try to purchase, or misrepresent his or her age in attempts to catch alleged perpetrators.
● A minor who drinks or possesses alcohol may contact emergency services for the benefit of another minor who might be in danger of alcohol poisoning and may be exempt from prosecution. In order to qualify for the exemption, he or she must be the first individual to make the emergency call, remain on the scene until help arrives, and cooperate with police and emergency personnel.
Collin County Minor in Possession of Alcohol Resources
TABC Underage Drinking Laws | Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — Minor in possession of alcohol is by no means the only criminal charge relating to alcohol that minors can face, and the TABC provides a complete list of Alcoholic Beverage Code sections referencing minors. Learn more about the Zero Tolerance Law on this section of the TABC website. You can also find video clips.
Underage Drinking State Profile: Texas | APIS – Alcohol Policy Information System — The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) provides detailed information on a wide variety of alcohol-related policies in the United States at both state and federal levels, as well as policy information regarding pregnancy and drugs and the recreational use of cannabis. Learn more about underage drinking laws, false identification, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. You can view policy topics, explanatory notes and limitations, and comparison maps.
Underage Drinking and Driving – Texas Department of Transportation — View the Texas Department of Transportation website dedicated to addressing drinking and driving among the youth of Texas. Learn more about driving while intoxicated (DWI) penalties and advice for parents. There is also information about providing alcohol to minors.
Underage Drinking | CDC — According to the CDC, underage drinking cost the U.S. $24 billion in 2010 and there were approximately 119,000 emergency rooms visits by persons aged 12 to 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol in 2013. Read more about findings of the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. There is also discussion about what young people are likely to experience while drinking.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Collin County Minor in Possession of Alcohol Lawyer
Were you or your child arrested or ticketed for alleged minor in possession of alcohol in Denton or another community in Denton County? Try not to speak to police until you have an attorney.