Texas has some of the strictest laws, sentencing and penalties in the nation and its laws regarding minors and alcohol are no exception. Teenagers will be teenagers and regardless of the generation, they continue to push the limits in regards to alcohol consumption. Not much has changed since the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Minors today continue to drink alcohol behind their parents’ backs. They continue to drink at house parties, college parties, and while camping and boating.
The problem is, minors are young and inexperienced. A lot of them don’t understand the ill-effects of alcohol and “how much is too much.” Teens have a tendency to drink and drive, ride in cars without seat belts, engage in binge drinking and risky behavior – and they do it far more often than people in their late twenties, thirties and forties. Teens tend to believe they are “invincible,” and in effect, they make a lot of mistakes without concern for the consequences. This is especially true of young males who are particularly brazen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, and cost the U.S. $24 billion in economic costs in 2010. The CDC continues, “In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency room visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.”
It’s Illegal for Minors to Drink Alcohol in Texas
In Texas, there are several alcohol-related offenses that can be committedby minors, such as possession of alcohol by a minor, operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol by a minor, and consuming of alcohol by a minor.
Under Section 106.04 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code, it’s against the law for a minor, someone under the age of 21, to consume alcohol in Texas. The punishment for an offense under Sec. 106.04 includes:
- Between 8 and 40 hours of community service,
- A fine ranging between $250 and $2,000, or
- Up to 180 days in jail, or
- A fine and confinement.
It is a defense however, if the minor consumed the alcohol in the presence of their parents and with their parents’ permission. To learn more about the Alcoholic Beverage Code sections that reference minors,click here.
Is your son or daughter facing criminal charges? Contact our Plano criminal defense firm to work with a top-rated legal team.