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Possession of Alcohol by a Minor

Persons younger than 21 years old are prohibited from possessing alcohol. Young adults who are caught with alcohol may be charged with possession of alcohol by a minor. This offense is commonly charged when minors are carrying cups or other containers with alcohol.

Underage alcohol-related offenses are serious under Texas law. A conviction for possession of alcohol by a minor may result in large fines, a suspension of your driver’s license, and even possible jail time. Repeat offenders may face enhanced penalties if they have prior alcohol-related convictions. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, it’s imperative that you gain legal representation now.

Denton Attorney for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor in Texas

Young adults under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing alcohol. Those who do may be criminally charged in Texas courts. If you have been charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, it’s important that you contact the attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today. 

The attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are skilled in criminal defense law. We have been practicing law since 2002 and have gained invaluable knowledge through experience. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy works tirelessly for each and every one of our clients. Find trusted legal representation today at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.

Call us today at (972) 805-8855 to schedule a free consultation. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy practices law throughout the greater Collin County area and surrounding communities including Plano, McKinney, Garland, Prosper, and Frisco.

Overview of Possession of Alcohol by a Minor in Texas 


Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Under Texas Law

Minors who possess alcohol may be charged under Texas law. Possession of alcohol by a minor is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. Minors can be charged if they are in actual or constructive possession of alcohol in Texas.

Actual possession is when the beverage is on the defendant’s person. Constructive possession is when the defendant has control and dominion over the alcohol beverage. Meaning that the minor had the ability to control the beverage at any time. For example, the alcohol was in a cooler that was in the defendant’s car. While the defendant wasn’t drinking the beverage, it’s inferred that he or she had the ability to drink the alcohol since it was in their constructive possession.

Texas law states there are certain scenarios where a minor can legally possess an alcoholic beverage. Those scenarios include: 

  • The defendant was working for an alcohol-provider or is a licensed or permittee alcohol provider;
  • The defendant is under the supervision of an adult parent, guardian, spouse or other adult that is the court-mandated caregiver; or
  • The defendant is enrolled and engaged in a culinary, wine technology, beer technology, or spirits technology class by a higher education facility; or
  • The defendant is under the supervision of a peace officer engaged in enforcing provisions.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05(d) states a minor may be exempted from criminal charges if: 

  • The defendant requested emergency medical assistance for a possible alcohol overdose of the defendant or another person;
  • The defendant was the first person to ask for medical assistance; and
  • The defendant remained on the scene until medical assistance arrived and then cooperated with any requests by medical assistance or law enforcement.

Minors who report sexual assault from an alcohol-related event may not be criminally charged. A minor may be excluded from criminal charges if he or she:

  • Reports as a sexual assault victim or reports a sexual assault for another person to:
    • Treating health care professional;
    • Law enforcement employee;
    • The Title IX coordinator of an institution;
    • Any employee of an institution responsible for responding to sexual assault.

Penalties for Possessing Alcohol as a Minor in Texas

Possessing alcohol as a minor is a class C misdemeanor. A class C misdemeanor is punishable by a $500 fine and a suspension of your driver’s license for up to 30 days. In some cases, you may be required to attend an alcohol awareness course. If you don’t complete the program in a timely manner you may face additional penalties.

Minors may be required to perform up to 12 hours of community service if they have been convicted or placed on deferred disposition. Subsequent offenses may result in a maximum of 40 hours of community service. 

A second offense may result in a driver’s license suspension for up to 60 days. A third offense may escalate this up to 180 days. In some cases, minors with two or more convictions may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and face up to 180 days in jail. 


Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor in Texas

No minor in the United States is allowed to consume alcohol. Those who do may be charged with consumption of alcohol by a minor under Texas law. Consumption of alcohol by a minor in Texas is a class C misdemeanor and the penalties are the same as possession charges.

Any minor who has been previously convicted twice or more for consumption of alcohol isn’t eligible for deferred disposition. Either an adjudication or order of deferred disposition will be considered a conviction. This means you may be forced to face statutory penalties as a result. 

There are a few situations where a minor may not be charged with consumption of alcohol. Any minor who is reporting sexual assault or is the first to ask for medical assistance for an alcohol overdose won’t be criminally charged. 


Additional Resources 

Texas Alcohol Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code to find more laws relating to alcohol consumption. Gain access to the Texas statutes to learn about the illegal sale of alcohol to minors, minors misrepresenting their age, underage DWI offense and more.

Alcohol and Your Child – Visit a document provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and find more information surrounding underage drinking facts. Learn minor alcohol-related statistics, how binge drinking works, alcohol poisoning and strategies for parents dealing with teens.


Denton Lawyer for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor in Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with possessing alcohol as a minor, it’s vital that you start taking steps in your defense now. You or your child may have your driver’s license suspended and pay large fines. In addition, you may be required to attend alcohol awareness classes or community service. Don’t submit to these penalties without a fight. Call the attorneys at (972) 805-8855 today. 

Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is a group of experienced attorneys who understand the ins and outs of Texas juvenile laws. We have represented many minors charged with alcohol-related offenses in criminal courts. Using our defense strategies, we can create a strong defense for you. 

The attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represent those charged with driving offenses throughout Collin County and nearby cities including Plano, Frisco, McKinney, and Murphy. 

Call us at (972) 805-8855, or simply submit an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


This article was last updated on November 28, 2018.

 

 

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