Minors and Drinking

Minors who consume, purchase, attempt to purchase, or possess alcoholic beverages, including minors who are intoxicated in public or lie about their age to obtain alcoholic beverages can face a variety of consequences.

Underage Possession

If you are a minor (under age 21) and charged with possession of alcohol you can face the following penalties:

  • A fine up to $500
  • 30 to 180 days suspension of your driver’s license
  • 8 to 10 hours of community service
  • Alcohol awareness classes

The charge of possession may be brought for any amount of beer or liquor found in the minor’s possession. A second or third offense can lead to a suspension of the minor’s driver’s license for 60 to 180 days. If the second or third offense is by a minor age 17 or older, the offense is punishable by a fine of at least $250 up to $2,000, an active sentence up to 180 days, or a combination of both. There is an automatic license revocation on a third conviction.

If the minor has previous alcohol-related convictions, their license will be suspended for one year if noncompliant with the requirement to attend the alcohol awareness classes that were required by the judge.

Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor

Minor commit the offense of misrepresenting their age if they falsely states that they are age 21 or older, or if they present any document that indicates they are 21 years or older to a person engaged in the selling or serving of alcohol.

Punishment for misrepresentation is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $500.   If it is a second or third offense, the punishment is more severe, imposing community service and license suspension.

Underage Consumption

Minors commit the offense of consumption of alcohol by a minor if they consume an alcoholic beverage. Such an offense is punishable as a Class C misdemeanor imposing a fine up to $500. If it is a second or third offense, the punishment is more severe including community service and possible license suspension.

Providing Alcohol to a Minor

The punishment for providing or selling alcohol to a minor is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $4,000, an active sentence up to a year, or both. Furnishing alcohol to a minor may also result in having a driver’s license automatically suspended for 180 days.

A parent, legal guardian or spouse may provide alcohol to their child or spouse as long as they are present when the minor possesses or consumes it.

Representation Matters

If you are under the age of 21 and have been charged with an alcohol-related offense in Galveston County it is important to understand your rights and the possible punishments you are facing. Likewise, if you are charged with providing alcohol to a minor, you need representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates to talk about your case.