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.
If you or your child was recently arrested or ticketed for possession of alcohol by a minor in Denton, 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 (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Alcohol Offense by Minor Plea | Denton County — View the form that will likely have to be completed in your own underage possession case. The form applies to seven different alcohol offenses in Texas, including minor in possession of alcohol. You can enter a plea of not guilty or a plea of no contest, although you must specify whether it is your first or second offense.
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.
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.