Texas law prohibits minors from buying, possessing, or consuming alcohol, as well as, providing false information for the purpose of alcohol sales or consumption (Texas Statute and Code Sections 106.02(a), 106.04(a), 106.05(a), &106.07(a).) The crime is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by fine only (maximum $500.00 dollars). Exceptions to this are if the minor is in his or her home and under parental supervision.
For example, should there be a holiday celebration or wedding where everyone is toasting and the parents are present its acceptable for a minor to consume alcohol under their supervision. An exception would not be for a minor to drink at home, alone without his parent’s permission or oversight. Most often, however, minors in possession of alcohol in violation of these laws are usually at a party where alcohol is present and police have been called, in an outdoor location, or in a vehicle that has been stopped by police.
According to Tommy Hastings, a renowned medical malpractice lawyer, “The law is the same wherever you go in Texas. However, each county or region has different attitudes on enforcement.” Police who routinely encounter underage drinking at the University of Texas at Austin, for example, may be less aggressive in handing out MIP tickets than Sugar Land or Greatwood.
What should I do when questioned by police about alcohol?
This is often a difficult question to answer because the Fifth Amendment certainly guarantees you the right to say nothing at all, but at the same time (usually) if the minor in question is polite and cooperative the that will go a long way in helping him or her receive deferred adjudication or an outright dismissal if he is fact cited for minor in possession at all.
While there is a time and a place for exercising your right to remain silent, there is also a time to be honest, humble, and express your remorse. When possible say nothing, but do it politely. Never lie to a police officer, just be silent. If you are non-confrontational, use “Sir” or “Ma’am” when asking to exercise your right to silence you’ll get much farther than lecturing a police officer on the Constitution. If, however, you choose to tell the truth and be polite and show that you acknowledge your misconduct, the officer will usually testify to that in court or mention it in the police report.
Can it be expunged from the juvenile record?
The Fort Bend, Sugarland, and Greatwood area certainly do not have a forgiving judicial system when dealing with a minor in possession of alcohol charge. Regardless of the jurisdiction, if someone is a first offender, is polite, and shows a lot of understanding and remorse about their actions that will go a long way in helping them deal with their minor in possession charge. With the right attorney you can often get your record expunged immediately upon turning 21, even if you were less than polite when confronted by the police officer. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure has procedures for automatic expunctions of minor in possession charges but needs to be taken care of by a qualified Fort Bend criminal attorney. Call today if you received a minor in possession charge while in high school, college, or otherwise, but need it taken off your record as you search for employment.