According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol claims the lives of 4,358 underage drinkers each year. Young people can reach an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level sooner than that of an adult. Since alcohol consumption can lead up to serious offenses including a DUI/DWI charge, state regulations strictly enforce penalties for underage drinking. One of the most severe juvenile offenses in Texas is a minor in possession. Since Texas’ age of criminal responsibility begins at 17 years of age, getting accused of minor in possession can result in severe consequences, including jail time.
If you or someone you know is charged with minor in possession, you need to seek a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Minor in possession is a serious juvenile offense, and a lawyer for minor in possession will have the experience to make this process more transparent and smoother for you.
Our attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group are experienced with a range of juvenile crimes, as well as those involving alcohol and drugs. We are dedicated to our cases and our clients and will never leave you in the dark. Contact us at (832) 530-4070 to get a free consultation with no strings attached.
The Gonzalez Law Group works clients in Houston, Galveston, Katy, Kemah, Baytown, Sugar Land, Richmond, Bay City, Tomball, Waller, and more.
Minor in Possession Offense
Section 106.05 of the Texas alcoholic beverage code states that a minor has committed an offense if he or she is found in possession of alcohol. However, there are some exceptions to the code, including:
- The minor was in his or her place of employment when the act occurred, and the location of employment is unaffected by the code
- The minor was in the presence of his adult parent, legal guardian, or legal spouse
- The minor was in the presence of a peace officer who is in charge of enforcing the code
- The minor was at least 18 years of age, attending a higher education institution or career school and tastes the alcohol as part of his or her curriculum and for educational purposes
- The minor requested medical assistance for another minor or individual as a response to possible alcohol poisoning
- The minor was the first person to ask for medical aid for the other individual as a response to possible alcohol poisoning
- The minor requested medical assistance for another individual as a response to possible alcohol poisoning waited for medical assistance to arrive and cooperated with the medical assistance and law enforcement
- The minor reported someone as a victim of a sexual assault act involving alcohol
- The minor is a victim of a sexual assault act involving alcohol
Minor in Possession Penalties
The punishment for minor in possession is outlined in Section 106.071 of the Texas alcoholic beverage code and includes a Class C misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $500. The minor may also have to attend a state or government-approved alcohol awareness program, drug education program, or a drug and alcohol driving awareness program. However, if such programs are not available to the minor, then the court can assign a specific community service program with a rehabilitation aspect to it. If the minor is younger than 18, the minor’s parents may also have to attend the program. Community service assignment is according to the court and can be used as a replacement of a conviction or as a deferred disposition. However, any community service assignment following a 1st offense will be counted as a previous conviction if the minor is charged with a 2nd offense.
|1st offense||8-12 hours|
|2nd offense||20-40 hours|
The minor’s driver’s license or permit can also be suspended or denied on the 11th day after the conviction according to the following timelines:
|1st offense||30 days|
|2nd offense||60 days|
|3rd offense||180 days|
If a minor who is not a child (generally, 10-16 years old) has been convicted of a similar offense at least twice before, the punishment is more significant. Along with the other penalties set forth by the code, a third offense can result in the following:
|Incarceration||Confinement in jail for up to 180 days|
If a minor reaches his or her third offense, he will also lose eligibility for deferred disposition or deferred adjudication.
Responsibility.org Statistics – This page provides some statistics on the current state of underage drinking inside the United States. The different statistics can let you know the amount of alcohol consumption by age group and environment. For example, the data states that college students are more likely to engage in binge drinking than non-college students.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Help – This page is an easy guide to navigating through each code relating to alcohol consumption by minors inside Texas. You can also find underage drinking educational material and enforcement of IDs information.
Attorney for Minor in Possession in Harris County, TX
If you find yourself in hot water after taking that sip of alcohol as a minor, it’s best to seek legal help before speaking to any more law enforcement. You might have been involved in a peer pressure situation, and you want a lawyer for a minor in possession who can analyze your case.
At The Gonzalez Law Group, we are dedicated to our clients and their cases. We can meet with you for a consultation if you contact us at (832) 530-4070. If we take your case, we will be there every step of the way. We know how difficult of a situation it can be for you and your family during this time, so we want to help.
We work with clients near Harris County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Fort Bend County, Chambers County, Waller County, and more.