If you’re a minor or an adult in Texas, it’s important that you understand that the state comes down hard, very hard, on people who provide alcohol to a minor.
If you’re a minor and you provide alcohol to your friends (who are also minors), you could get into a lot of trouble if you’re caught.
Same goes for adults. If you’re 21 or older and you provide alcohol to a minor and the police find out, you could face stiff penalties. Under Texas law, if a minor or an adult gives alcohol to a minor, they face the following punishment:
- Class A misdemeanor on their criminal record
- Up to a $4,000 fine
- Up to one year in jail
If you’re 21 or older and you work at a bar, restaurant, nightclub, grocery store, convenience store, or liquor store and you fail to “card” a minor and you sell him or her alcohol, you can be arrested, charged with a Class A misdemeanor and fined up to $4,000, or put in jail for up to one year, or both.
What if the intoxicated minor gets a DWI?
Let’s say you’re over 21 and you let your teenage brother drink with you and your buddies at your house. Your brother has three beers and four shots of tequila and he decides to drive a mile to pick up a couple of his friends to come join the party. On his way, he crashes into your neighbor’s parked car, totaling it.
Since you’re 21 and let your brother drink at your house, the state can hold you liable for the damages your 17-year-old brother caused to your neighbor’s car. Why?
Because, under Texas law, if a person 21 or older knowingly gives alcohol to a minor (under 18) on a property owned or leased by the adult and the intoxicated minor causes damage, the adult can be held liable for any damages caused.
To learn more about the underage drinking laws in Texas, click here.