Texas Underage Drinking...In Denton County

Minors and people under the age of 21 who drink alcohol do not always comprehend the severity of the consequences of being arrested for underage consumption. An arrest for underage drinking can result in a criminal record, suspension of a driver’s license, and can have an effect on future educational options. Chris Abel has been helping minors charged with unlawful consumption arrests for years and can help you or your child avoid the serious penalties that can come with underage drinking.

Texas Underage Drinking Laws

The laws regarding underage drinking in Texas can be found in the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code and the Texas Penal Code. A minor for the purposes of underage drinking is anyone under the age of 21. According to Beverage Code Section 106.04, a minor commits the offense of unlawful consumption if they consume any alcoholic beverage. The amount consumed for this offense does not matter. If a minor is convicted of underage drinking two or more times prior to this arrest, the penalties are more severe.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

If you are arrested for underage drinking, it is considered a Class C Misdemeanor crime. If the arrest is the third or subsequent charge for underage drinking, it is considered a Class B Misdemeanor crime and the penalties are even more severe. The consequences of underage drinking can include:

First Offense – Class C Misdemeanor

  • Fine: Up to $500
  • Community service: Between eight and 40 hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: 30 days, and if the minor does not possess a driver’s license any application to receive one will be denied for that period of time
  • Alcohol awareness class: If not completed in 90 days, driver’s license is suspended for one year

Second Offense – Class C Misdemeanor

  • Fine: Up to $500
  • Community service: Between 20 and 40 hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: 60 days, and if the minor does not possess a driver’s license any application to receive one will be denied for that period of time
  • Possible alcohol awareness class

Third Offense – Class B Misdemeanor

  • Fine: Between $250 and $2000
  • Driver’s license suspended: Six months, and if the minor does not possess a driver’s license any application to receive one will be denied for that period of time
  • Possible alcohol awareness class
  • Jail sentence: If the minor is 17 or older, up to 180 days in county jail

Legal Defenses to Underage Drinking

Although the law prohibits people under the age of 21 to consume any level of alcohol, there are valid exceptions to the rule. If you or your child has been arrested for underage drinking, one of these defenses may apply:

Parental Consent: According to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, a minor is allowed to consume alcohol in the visible presence of the minor’s adult parent, guardian, or spouse. This may be done on private, non-alcohol selling premises or in an establishment that sells alcohol.

Reporting Medical Need: A minor is also exempted from prosecution for underage drinking if they call emergency medical assistance for another minor that may have a possible alcohol overdose. To qualify for this defense, the minor must be the first person to call for help, remain on the scene until medical personnel arrives, and cooperate fully with medical personnel and law enforcement.

Call a Flower Mound Texas Attorney Today

If you, someone you know, or your child has been arrested for underage drinking in Denton County or Tarrant County, let Chris Abel fight for you. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.