Most people are aware that individuals need to be 21 years of age to possess or consume alcohol in Texas, so anybody who is less than the legal age can face criminal consequences for unlawful possession of alcohol. Convictions can have serious repercussions for alleged offenders in these cases, so you will want to work with possession of alcohol by a minor attorney if you are facing these types of criminal charges.

It is important to understand that Texas law does allow certain situations and circumstances under which minors can legally possess alcohol. You will want to examine whether you may have a justification for your possession that allows you to avoid criminal penalties.

Possession of Alcohol by a Minor main

Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

If your child was arrested for alleged unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor offense be sure you are working with a criminal defense attorney who can examine your case and determine your strongest defenses.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

Texas Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Laws

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05 establishes that a minor commits a possession of alcohol by a minor offense if they possess an alcoholic beverage. The tricky part of this definition concerns possession, which could be actual or constructive.

Actual possession relates to instances in which alcohol is clearly in the hands or otherwise on the person of an alleged offender. Constructive possession, on the other hand, involves alcohol being accessible to an alleged offender but not necessarily in their immediate possession.

Constructive possession cases can be much easier to defend because it will be difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a minor definitively possessed alcohol that was not in their hands. A minor may have had knowledge alcohol was present without ever exercising any possession of it.

In addition to the offense of possession, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.02 also makes it a crime for a minor to purchase alcohol and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.025 makes it an offense to attempt to purchase alcohol. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.04 is the crime of consumption of alcohol by a minor, and every single violation listed here is categorized under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.071 as being a Class C misdemeanor. 

When Minors Can Legally Possess Alcohol in Tarrant County

It is important to understand that Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05(b) establishes that minors can legally possess alcoholic beverages in the following situations:

  • while they are in the course and scope of their employment if they are employees of licensees or permittees and the employment is not prohibited by this code
  • if they are in the visible presence of their adult parent, guardian, spouse, or another adult to whom they have been committed by a court
  • if they are under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code
  • if a beverage is lawfully provided to the minor under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.16, which is the state law relating to exceptions for certain course work, providing that a minor can 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 offering a program in culinary arts, viticulture, enology or wine technology, brewing or malt beverage technology, or distilled spirits production or technology. 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 described above, 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.

Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Penalties in Fort Worth

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.071 again classifies possession of alcohol by a minor offense as being Class C misdemeanor. These crimes are typically punishable by fines of up to $500 but do not typically involve periods of incarceration.

That said, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.071(c) establishes that when a minor who is not a child and has been previously convicted at least twice of this offense can face punishments that include:

  • A fine of up to $2,000; and/or
  • Up to 180 days in jail.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.115 further provides that on the placement of a minor on deferred disposition for an offense under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.02, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.025, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.04, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.041, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.05, or Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.07, the court must require the alleged offender to attend an alcohol awareness program approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or a drug education program approved by the Department of State Health Services. On a conviction of a minor of an offense under one or more of those sections, the court, in addition to assessing a fine as provided by those sections, must require an alleged offender who has not been previously convicted of an offense under one of those sections to attend an alcohol awareness program or a drug education program. 

If the alleged offender has been previously convicted once or more of an offense under one or more of those sections, the court can require the alleged offender to attend an alcohol awareness program or a drug education program. If the alleged offender is younger than 18 years of age, the court can require the parent or guardian of the defendant to attend the program with the alleged offender. 

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, as appropriate, will be responsible for the administration of the certification of approved alcohol awareness programs, may charge a nonrefundable application fee for initial certification of the approval or renewal of the certification, must adopt rules regarding alcohol awareness programs approved under this section, and must monitor, coordinate, and provide training to a person who provides an alcohol awareness program.

In addition to any fine and any order issued under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.115, the court must order a minor placed on deferred disposition for or convicted of an offense to which this section applies to perform community service for not less than eight or more than 12 hours if the minor has not been previously convicted of an offense to which this section applies or not less than 20 or more than 40 hours if the minor has been previously convicted once of an offense to which this section applies. The court must also order the Department of Public Safety to suspend the driver’s license or permit of a minor convicted of an offense to which this section applies or, if the minor does not have a driver’s license or permit, to deny the issuance of a driver’s license or permit for 30 days, if the minor has not been previously convicted of an offense to which this section applies, 60 days, if the minor has been previously convicted once of an offense to which this section applies, or 180 days, if the minor has been previously convicted twice or more of an offense to which this section applies.

Community service must be related to education about or prevention of misuse of alcohol or drugs, as applicable, if programs or services providing that education are available in the community in which the court is located. If programs or services providing that education are not available, the court can order community service that it considers appropriate for rehabilitative purposes.

Fort Worth Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Resources

Underage Drinking State Profile: Texas | Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) — APIS provides user-searchable access to authoritative, detailed, and comparable information on alcohol and cannabis-related public policies in the United States at both the state and federal levels, and is designed primarily as a tool for researchers intended to encourage and facilitate research on the effects and effectiveness of alcohol and cannabis-related policies. Learn more about criminal penalties relating to underage possession of alcohol, underage consumption of alcohol, internal possession by minors, underage purchase of alcohol, and furnishing alcohol to minors. You can also find information about minimum ages for on-premises servers and bartenders, minimum ages for off-premises sellers, false identification for obtaining alcohol, keg registration, and prohibitions against hosting underage drinking parties.

Underage drinking and driving — This Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) webpage discusses the penalties not only for underage possession of alcohol but also drinking and driving. It also discusses possible penalties for adults who furnish alcohol to minors. Minors who are 17 years of age or older can face possible jail time as well as fines and a driver’s license suspension of up to one year for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses.

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you were arrested for a minor in possession of alcohol offense in Tarrant County, be sure you have legal counsel experienced in handling juvenile crime cases. Seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer for ways to fight your criminal charges. Our firm can review your case and then investigate to determine the best possible defenses.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

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