While it's illegal to consume, possess, or purchase alcohol before you turn 21 years old in Texas, teen drinking still occurs every day. Before making the decision to drink before turning 21, it's important to understand the consequences of drinking while still being a minor. Our Austin juvenile crimes specialist examines the laws and penalties of underage drinking in Texas in this guide.
What Are the Penalties for Underage Alcohol Consumption?
The penalties for drinking before the legal drinking age limit are far from minor. Any person under the age of 21 who purchases alcohol, becomes intoxicated in public, lies about their age to obtain or purchase alcohol, or attempts to buy, consume, or possess alcohol can be arrested and charged for Minor in Possession (MIP).
Not only is a MIP an alcohol-related charge, but it is also a Class C misdemeanor. A minor in possession of alcohol faces the following consequences:
- Up to a $500 fine
- 30-180 day driver license suspension
- 8 to 40 hours of community service
- Court-ordered alcohol awareness classes
If you receive a second or third offense, you could have your driver's license suspended for 60 to 180 days. For individuals that are 17 years or older, they can be fined up to $2,000 and jail time for up to 180 days for a third offense.
What To Do If You Have Been Charged With MIP
Receiving an underage drinking violation on your criminal can be severely damaging. Not only can it impact your current and future job opportunities, but it also may affect your ability to secure college scholarships.
Everyone makes mistakes, but you don't have to let this one derail your future. If you've been accused of underage drinking, you may be able to fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed with the help of our attorney. However, you must take action as soon as possible after you have been arrested.
Additionally, you have options if you have an underage drinking charge on your record. Remember, it's not too late to move forward to a better path. If you have charges on your juvenile record for underage drinking crimes, you may be able to get it expunged or sealed.
Protect Your Future
At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, we will do whatever we can to protect your rights. If you need help fighting your underage drinking crimes or sealing your juvenile record, don't hesitate to reach out to our Austin criminal defense attorneys.
Charged with underage drinking? Call our attorney today at (512) 991-0576 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.