In this day and age, alcohol culture is a part of American life. However, there must be limits, and the law tries to enforce them. Most people agree that minors’ access to alcohol needs to be limited. As such, minor in possession laws are very often rigorously enforced. It is important to understand what exactly is encompassed by them, however, lest you unwittingly run afoul of the law.
The law in Texas is fairly simple, stating explicitly that it is against the law for someone under the age of 21 to “buy, possess or consume” alcohol, as well as to attempt to perform any of those actions. Adults may also not buy or sell alcohol for minors.
There are four exceptions to Texas law, however, where minors are permitted to possess, purchase or consume alcohol. They are:
- Consuming in the presence of, and with the consent of, their parent or guardian (or, in rare cases, their adult spouse);
- Possessing or handling alcohol during the minor’s scope of employment (for example, as a waitress);
- Purchasing or consuming alcohol while assisting law enforcement in enforcement of the minor in possession laws, such as during a sting operation; and
- Not an exception, per se, but a minor may not be found liable for violation of the laws if they are calling for emergency help for an overdose victim, as long as they were the one to call for help, and remained on the scene to help medical personnel.
A Note About Deferred Disposition
Sometimes, judges may choose to sentence a minor to community service or to undergo an alcohol awareness program, in lieu of a fine or jail time, under a program referred to in Texas as deferred disposition (also known as deferred adjudication). Deferred disposition can apply to anyone, but is most often applied to minors or very young adults. The rationale is that these defendants have perhaps the most to lose by having any kind of criminal record, and thus may be given a second chance of sorts. Another caveat to be aware of is that with a deferred disposition, the defendant minor is legally entitled to attempt having their record expunged.
An Experienced Allen, Texas DWI Lawyer Can Help
Being convicted of anything, even a misdemeanor, as a minor can be terrifying. Having an understanding and knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney on your side can save a lot of time and trouble. The Frisco DWI attorneys at Rosenthal & Wadas are happy to help you work through what can be a difficult and confusing time. Give us a call today at 877-538-8640 (toll free) to set up an appointment. If you or your relative are in troubles with alcohol you can visit California Drug And Alcohol Rehab Center | Resurgence Behavioral Health, the you will find help and support.