In Texas, the legal age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages is 21. The state enforces strict laws to deter underage drinking and regulate the sale of alcohol. Penalties for violating these laws can be severe, encompassing criminal charges, fines, and possible jail time.
This summary explores the key aspects of Texas laws surrounding the purchase of alcohol for a minor, including penalties, possible defenses, and relevant statistics.
Defense Lawyer for Sale of Alcohol to a Minor
Jackson Gorski is an experienced criminal defense lawyer operating in Central Texas. He is ready to provide full-service representation for those charged with sale of alcohol to a minor.
The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County. Your first consultation is free, so call 512-960-4646 today.
Sale of Alcohol to a Minor
- Furnishing of Alcohol to a Minor in
- Penalties for Providing Alcohol to a Minor
- Common Defenses in Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor Cases
- Additional Resources
- Hire a Defense Lawyer in Travis County, Texas
Providing Alcohol to a Minor
Anybody 21 or older (other than the parent or guardian) can be held liable for damages caused by intoxication of a minor under 18 if the adult knowingly provided alcoholic beverages to the minor or knowingly allowed them to be served or provided alcoholic beverages on the premises owned or leased by the adult.
Penalties for Purchasing Alcohol for a Minor
Texas Penal Code Section 106.06 addresses the offense of purchasing alcohol for a minor. This law prohibits individuals from buying, providing, or making alcohol available to someone under the age of 21. Violating this statute can result in severe penalties.
A first-time offense is typically classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
However, intoxication that results in serious bodily injury is classified as a state jail felony and can carry with it a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 years in state jail.
Subsequent offenses may lead to increased fines and longer periods of incarceration.
Community Service and Alcohol Education Programs
Courts may impose community service requirements and mandate participation in alcohol education programs as part of the sentencing for individuals convicted of purchasing alcohol for a minor.
Driver’s License Suspension
Convictions for providing alcohol to a minor may also result in the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license for a specified period.
Social Host Liability
Texas law extends liability beyond the actual purchaser. Social hosts who provide alcohol to minors can also face legal consequences, including fines and potential civil liability for any damages caused by the intoxicated minor.
Individuals charged with purchasing alcohol for a minor may explore various defenses to mitigate or dismiss the charges. While defenses can vary based on the circumstances of each case, common strategies include the following.
Lack of Knowledge
If the accused can demonstrate that they were unaware of the minor’s age and had a reasonable belief that the person was of legal drinking age, it may serve as a defense.
If law enforcement coerced or induced the accused to purchase alcohol for a minor, the defense of entrapment may be applicable.
Problems with Identification
The defense may argue that the accused relied on a fake ID or other deceptive means used by the minor to misrepresent their age.
Texas law allows minors to consume alcohol under parental supervision and with parental consent. If the accused can prove that they were acting within the bounds of this exception, it may serve as a valid defense.
Error in Arrest Procedure
SAMHSA Hotline – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides resources for those addicted to alcohol, drugs and other substances. The provided hotline is a way to speak with a professional for guidance or to find help with treatment.
TABC – The Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission provides a breakdown of underage drinking laws and possible penalties, as well as resources for speaking to your child about substance abuse.
NIAA Report – The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides a yearly report on abuse statistics in the United States. According to the latest report, approximately 26% of males age 12-20 reported they drank in the past year, while approximately 29% of females reported the same. For more information, please follow the proceeding hyperlink.
Hire a Defense Lawyer for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor in Travis County
Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County. Your first consultation is free, so call 512-960-4646 today.