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Rules That Apply To Minors In Texas
If you're potentially facing criminal charges in Texas related to alcohol consumption or possession as a minor, you need to understand the intricacies of Texas law. Section 106.115 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code deals with Alcohol Awareness Programs and license suspension for minors in Texas. This text aims to provide a thorough, easy-to-understand breakdown of this specific Texas law.
The Basics Of Section 106.115
What Is Section 106.115?
Section 106.115 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code outlines the requirements and consequences for minors (people under the age of 21) who are convicted or placed on deferred disposition for offenses related to alcohol. The offenses include various violations under both the Penal Code and the Alcoholic Beverage Code, such as public intoxication, minor in possession of alcohol, and driving under the influence as a minor.
Who Regulates The Programs?
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation oversees the administration and certification of approved alcohol awareness programs. They also charge fees for initial certification and renewals and adopt rules concerning these programs.
First-Time And Repeat Offenders
If a minor is convicted of an alcohol-related offense for the first time, the court must require the defendant to attend an alcohol awareness program or a drug education program. For those who have prior convictions, the court may still require them to attend one of these programs.
If the defendant is under 18, the court has the option to require the parent or guardian to attend the program alongside the minor.
For those residing in counties with a population of 75,000 or less, where access to an alcohol awareness program may not be readily available, the court may allow for online courses or community service related to alcohol abuse prevention or treatment as a substitute.
Completion And Penalties
Defendants must provide evidence of completion within 90 days, although this can be extended for good cause. Failure to do so can result in the suspension of the minor's driver's license for up to six months or up to one year for repeat offenders.
Understanding Penalties And Compliance
If you fail to provide evidence that you've completed the required program or community service within the prescribed period, your driver's license may be suspended for a period not exceeding six months. For repeat offenders, the suspension period can go up to one year.
Community Service As An Alternative
The law allows for community service to be an alternative to attending an alcohol awareness program under certain conditions, mainly for those residing in less populated counties. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is required to create a list of approved community service options related to alcohol abuse prevention or treatment.
Court's Discretion For Additional Orders
The court has the authority to issue additional orders for the defendant or their parent/guardian if it deems those measures would increase the likelihood of the defendant completing the required program or community service.
Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding Texas Alcohol Awareness Programs And License Suspension Laws
What Happens After A Minor Is Convicted Of An Alcohol-Related Offense?
If a minor is placed on deferred disposition or convicted for an offense, the court shall require them to attend an Alcohol Awareness Program or a Drug Education Program. These programs are approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or the Department of State Health Services.
Are Parents Involved?
If the minor is younger than 18, the court may require their parent or guardian to attend the program with them.
What If A Minor Lives In A Rural County?
The statute accounts for those residing in counties with populations of 75,000 or fewer where access to an Alcohol Awareness Program is not readily available. In such cases, the court may allow the minor to take an online version of the program or perform community service related to alcohol abuse prevention or treatment.
What Happens If A Minor Fails To Complete The Program?
If the minor doesn’t complete the program within 90 days, the Department of Public Safety can be ordered by the court to suspend the minor's driver's license for no more than six months. For repeat offenses, this period may extend up to one year.
Can The Fine Be Reduced Upon Completion Of The Program?
Yes, the court has the discretion to reduce the assessed fine to an amount no less than one-half of the initial fine if the minor presents evidence of satisfactory completion of the required program or community service within the prescribed period.
Alcohol Offense Lawyers Can Help
Understanding Section 106.115 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code is crucial if you’re a minor facing charges for an alcohol-related offense in Texas. Failure to comply with the requirements of this law could lead to hefty fines and the suspension of your driver's license. If you find yourself in this situation, consult with a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in Texas law to explore your options.
Secure Your Freedom With A Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney
Your freedom, reputation, and even family well-being could be on the line if you're facing criminal charges. The criminal defense attorneys at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC understand the devastating consequences you may encounter. That’s why each criminal defense lawyer at our firm prioritizes crafting a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. We offer rigorous representation and steer you through every step, ensuring that your rights are fiercely protected. Connect with our criminal defense attorneys immediately by calling (512) 991-0576 or get in touch online to initiate your consultation.