Underage Drinking Crimes for Texas

July 13, 2017

The state of Texas has three main crimes for minors who are in the same area as alcohol. The three crimes are driving under the influence, minor in possession of alcohol, and minor in consumption of alcohol. While these are not the only crimes that individuals can commit, they are the three main ones facing minors.

In alcohol-related crimes, minor is defined as someone who is under the age of 21. For most crimes, an individual under 18 is a minor. Because alcohol is different, the age was raised to 21.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is the crime with which a minor who has consumed any alcohol is charged. It does not matter what the minor blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is when he or she is stopped, if the driver is under 21, he or she will receive a ticket for DUI.

This is not to say that a minor can not receive the more serious charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI), but is merely saying that there are more crimes available to an individual that is not yet 21 concerning drinking and driving.

Fortunately, a DUI is not as serious of a crime as a DWI. The crime is mere a reflection of Texas' Zero Tolerance policy for minors and alcohol. The days of an officer of the peace merely calling a minor's parents are long gone.

Minor in Possession

Because a person under 21 is not allowed to purchase alcohol, it is also a crime for a minor to possess alcohol. Possession of alcohol can be constrained when a minor is at a table with a pitcher of beer and an assortment of glasses. If an individual is holding a beer can, regardless of whether it has beer in it or not, that individual can receive an MIP. An individual is at risk of receiving a citation for minor in possession whenever they attend a party, go to a nightclub, or ride in a vehicle with alcohol present.

A minor may be around alcohol but he or she may not touch the container; Hold any alcohol in his or her hand; Attempt to purchase, transport, or consume alcohol; Or have any contact with alcohol.

When an individual is cited for an MIP, the evidence must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the ownership, ownership, or control of an alcoholic beverage lay with the minor.

Minor in Consumption

A citation for minor in consumption rests on the police being able to prove that an individual under 21 had consumed alcohol. Possession is not enough to convict a minor of consuming of alcohol. This crime does not apply if an individual is within the site of his or her parents, guardians, or spouse.

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