As a minor in the State of Texas, choosing to drink alcohol before reaching the legal age can result in long-term repercussions that can follow you around for the rest of your life. The law is very clear – if you are under the age of 21 (minor), you can be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor in the following situations:
- An officer determines you have consumed any kind of an alcoholic beverage
- You are caught with any kind of an alcoholic beverage in your possession
- You attempt to purchase alcohol
- You lie while trying to purchase alcohol (i.e., use a fake ID – the charge could be worse depending on what is used)
When it comes to drinking and driving, the laws in Texas are applicable much differently than you might imagine for a minor. A teenager does not simply have to be drunk or even buzzed while driving (motor vehicle or watercraft) in order to be charged with a crime. In fact, if they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system at all, regarding of how much, they can still be charged with DUI (driving under the influence). The consequences of this crime can include the following:
- A fine of up to $500
- Alcohol awareness courses
- Community service
- Driver’s license suspension from 30 to 180 days
- Jail time of up to 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000 or a combination of both (if 17 years of age or older and has two prior violations)
Some teenagers may find themselves feeling rather hopeless when they see friends engaging in behaviors that involve alcohol. Parents of teenagers have a responsibility to teach their kids to request medical help for their friends, if they have had too much to drink. It seems like every year we hear about another teenager who died because of alcohol poisoning. What teenagers need to know is that they will not face legal consequences for calling an ambulance to help a friend who drank too much. Additionally, staying on the scene with the person in distress until help arrives, as well as giving medical personnel truthful information, could help save their friend’s life.
It is also a good idea to reach out for help in the event that your teen has been charged with any kind of crime related to alcohol. A criminal record, even for a misdemeanor offense, can have lasting consequences that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Hello from all of us here at The Law Office of Collin Evans. Not only do we strive to provide top-notch legal services in Harris County, but we also hope to keep you informed with stories involving our community and news within our field.