In Plano, Texas, a woman is facing charges for allegedly selling alcohol to a group of minors who later died in a car crash. On February 28, 2020, 36-year-old Yu Gao was arrested and charged with three counts of alcohol sale to a minor and one count of selling alcohol during prohibited hours.
According to investigators and authorities, it was determined that alcohol contributed to the automobile crash that killed three teenagers during the morning of February 17. They were driving down the 3200 block of Hedgcoxe Road when their automobile went off the street and subsequently crashed into trees alongside the road. Due to the force of the impact, the sedan was split in half, and police say that the group of individuals was dead when the first responders arrived at the scene. Currently, both local law enforcement and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are taking action. The police are investigating the crash itself, while the TABC is closely examining the restaurant in which the alcohol was served.
Underage drinking is a serious problem in America. Minors are losing their lives to alcoholism at a young age, and in many cases, this is due to adults who provide alcohol to minors. Underage drinking should be seen as a deadly epidemic, and it must be stopped immediately. Because of this, individuals who are found providing alcohol to minors face steep consequences to their actions.
In the state of Texas, minors who are found purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing, consuming alcohol, misrepresenting their age in order to obtain alcohol, or found intoxicated in public can face consequences to their actions. Underage drinking/intoxication can lead to a Class C misdemeanor, mandatory enrollment in anti-alcoholism campaigns, 8 to 40 hours of mandatory community service, or a driver’s license suspension.
In addition to underage drinking, there are also penalties for providing alcohol to a minor. Making alcoholic beverages available to minors can lead to a Class A misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by a jail sentence up to a year, a fine not to exceed $4,000, or both. This crime can also lead to individuals receiving driver’s license suspensions of up to 6 months.
According to Texas’s Zero Tolerance Law, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while having any amount of alcohol in their system. This law was put in place partly to deter minors from operating automobiles and/or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol. According to this law, a minor found committing this offense for the first time may face penalties that include a fine not to exceed $500, up to 40 hours of community service, a driver’s license suspension to last 60 days, and mandatory attendance at a court-ordered alcohol awareness program. Subsequent offenses will carry harsher penalties, such as additional hours of mandatory community service, a longer driver’s license suspension, higher fine amounts, and even a mandatory jail sentence of up to 180 days.
Part of the danger of underage drinking is that in many cases, it can lead to underage DWI. Minors who get behind the wheel while intoxicated are not only posing a threat to themselves, but they also pose a threat to every other driver on the roadway. Minors are typically less experienced drivers, and when you combine the effects of alcohol with inexperience, you have a recipe for disaster.
No minor should have to go through a criminal case involving DWI. This can cause them to lose out on countless opportunities, and priceless time that they can never get back. However, it is simply a fact of reality that sometimes, things happen, and individuals under 21 find themselves in need of a criminal defense attorney to assist them with a legal matter.
If you or someone you know is in need of a DWI lawyer in Plano, Texas, The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can help. With decades of experience helping Texans fight their DWI-related charges, you can count on Richard McConathy and his legal team to defend your rights. Call us today at 469-304-3422 for a free initial consultation. You can also reach us through our online contact form.