Understanding Texas’ Drinking Age & Laws

Per the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), minors are not allowed to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume any type of alcoholic beverage. Generally speaking, the term Minor in Consumption (MIC) refers to a criminal citation that involves a minor consuming alcohol. Technically, the term “minor in consumption” is a misnomer because a legal minor is anyone less than 18 years of age. However, in reality, any individual under the age of 21 can receive an MIC citation. In Texas, MIC and other alcohol-related offenses are punishable by the following:

What Is Minor In Consumption?

You are likely to receive an MIC citation if you are less than 21 years old and a law enforcement officer is able to reasonably establish that you are intoxicated or that you have consumed alcohol. In order to receive a MIC citation, law enforcement must be able to reasonably demonstrate that the minor illegally consumed alcohol. If the minor did not actually consume any alcoholic beverage, but was found with alcohol in their possession, he/she may be charged with the alternative charge of minor in possession.

Underage Drinking Statistics

In the U.S., individuals under than 21 years of age are not allowed to drink. However, about 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is consumed by minors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), underage drinking is a major public health concern in the United States. The CDC indicates that alcohol is the most commonly abused substance by young people in the U.S. – even more than tobacco and illegal drugs. According to the CDC, almost 5,000 young people are killed by underage drinking in the United States every year. Because of this, the CDC and law enforcement are committed to creating awareness and preventing future underage drinking. In a recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the CDC discovered that almost 40% of high school students had consumed alcohol within the preceding 30 days from when the survey was taken. Another 22% participated in binge drinking and about 8% admitted to driving after consuming alcohol. Additionally, 24% of high school students admitted to riding with an intoxicated driving in the past 30 days. In order to prevent underage drinking, the CDC believes that community-based efforts and enforcement programs should be employed. This includes legal drinking age law enforcement.

Minor In Consumption (MIC) Consequences & Penalties In Texas

Receiving any type of criminal conviction can mar your reputation and carry significant legal penalties. In Texas, minors who consume alcohol may receive a Minor in Consumption citation and be required to pay a $500 fine. Subsequent MIC convictions may also result in mandatory drug/alcohol awareness and education classes and up to 40 hours of community service. Additionally, an MIC in Texas is punishable by up to 180 days confinement in jail and 180 drivers’ license suspension. In addition to the serious legal consequences associated with MIC, the CDC lists a multitude of problems caused by underage drinking. According to the CDC, underage drinking may also result in problems at school (such as poor attendance or grades), alcohol poisoning, drug abuse, changes in brain development and other problems. Underage drinking may also be responsible for unwanted, unprotected and unplanned sexual activity, sexual assault, and physical assault.

If you or your child is facing an MIC citation, contact a lawyer from the Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC, today. With a high-quality Plano criminal defense lawyer on your side, you can have peace of mind that your case is in good hands. Contact us today!