Texas Minor in Possession Laws
Over the last decade, Texas has taken a tough position against underage drinking. The charge of Possession of Alcohol by a Minor, often known as a MIP charge, is one of the tools in the state’s arsenal. These are charges that can be leveled against the minor who is in actual possession of the alcohol. Adults who supplied it can face further charges under other sections of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Lawyers look at the big picture, assessing both the immediate and long-term repercussions of a minor in possession accusation. They can assist you to understand your rights and potential defenses, as well as provide excellent legal counsel to help you avoid a conviction and work toward an expunction.
Minor in Possession Statutes
A minor is prohibited from possessing an alcoholic beverage under Section 106.05 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code unless one of many exceptions applies. The following are the exceptions:
- The possession was in the course of the minor’s employment if the minor was an employee of a holder of a liquor license and the employment is not prohibited under the Beverage Code;
- The minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, spouse, or another adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court; or
- The minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer who is enforcing the provisions of the code; or
- The minor is at least 18 years old and a student at a qualifying institution, the alcohol is provided under a specified course of study, and the service and tasting are supervised by a faculty or staff member who is at least 21 years old.
In Texas, a MIP charge is a Class C misdemeanor. As a result, it is penalized by a fine of up to $500. If the juvenile is a repeat offender, the punishment can be doubled to $2,000 and the criminal might face up to 180 days in jail. A conviction can also result in court-ordered community service ranging from 8 to 40 hours, as well as court-ordered participation in an alcohol awareness program and, in extreme cases, a suspended driver’s license.
The unwritten consequences of a conviction are frequently more powerful than the actual sentence. A conviction creates a record that must be revealed on job applications and may have an impact on the school and housing alternatives. Before taking on this load, consult with a Texas underage drinking attorney who can assist you minimize the consequences.
Minor in Consumption of Alcohol (MIC)
Attorneys provide serious legal defense for ALL kids who are charged with underage consumption. This includes both juveniles who were arrested for MIC and spent a few hours or a night in jail, as well as minors who only received a MIC ticket. In any case, you have been charged with Minor Consumption of Alcohol and should carefully consider hiring a reputable local attorney to defend you. The following is Texas law addressing MIC:
The Law – Minor in Consumption of Alcohol (Texas ABC 106.04)
(a) A minor commits an offense if he consumes an alcoholic beverage.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alcoholic beverage was consumed in the visible presence of the minor’s adult parent, guardian, or spouse.
(c) An offense under this section is punishable as provided by Section 106.071.
(d) A minor who commits an offense under this section and who has been previously convicted twice or more of offenses under this section is not eligible for deferred disposition. For the purposes of this subsection:
(1) an adjudication under Title 3, Family Code, that the minor engaged in conduct described by this section is considered a conviction of an offense under this section; and
(2) an order of deferred disposition for an offense alleged under this section is considered a conviction of an offense under this section.
Texas DUI Charges
Being arrested for Driving Under the Influence, or DUI (as opposed to DWI), may be a distressing event, particularly if you end up spending the night in jail. However, it is the long-term implications that can be the most devastating. Multiple alcohol-related arrests as a minor can result in jail time and a permanent criminal record that cannot be wiped after you reach the age of 21 in Texas.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) by a Minor – Alcoholic Beverage Code 106.041
(a) A minor commits an offense if the minor operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(c) If it is shown at the trial of the defendant that the defendant is a minor who is not a child and who has been previously convicted at least twice of an offense under this section, the offense is punishable by:
(1) a fine of not less than $500 or more than $2,000;
(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
(3) both the fine and confinement.
Even if the judge allows you deferred adjudication, you cannot afford to start accumulating alcohol infractions if you are under the age of 21.” Since September 2007, there have been additional enhanced penalty levels, license suspensions, community service hours, and fine amounts for children – and even tougher penalties for minors convicted of more than one alcohol-related violation before reaching the age of 21.
Texas Defenses for Minor in Possession of Alcohol.
Aside from the exceptions mentioned above, the MIP Act expressly enables defenses for:
- Minors who have requested emergency medical assistance for a possible alcohol overdose of the minor or someone else, provided the minor was the first person to request medical assistance and he or she remained at the scene and cooperated with medical and law enforcement personnel or
- Minors who report a sexual assault of themselves or someone else, when it is reported to a health care provider treating the assault victim, a member of law enforcement, or a Title IX coordinator or another employee responsible for responding to a sexual assault reports at an institution of higher learning.
Understanding and effectively presenting defenses to alcohol-related allegations is an important step toward avoiding conviction. Be aware of these choices so that you can get the best defense possible.
Getting an alcohol possession charge dropped
If you are convicted of MIP, it is likely that it will remain on your permanent record, affecting career possibilities, school admissions, and scholarships, as well as carrying other ramifications in the future. As a result, in order to escape a conviction, it is critical to take the defense seriously.
It is possible to have the MIP charge wiped if the charge is dismissed or if you get and complete a deferred disposition (probation). This will prevent it from appearing on your permanent record, and you will no longer be required to disclose it on the job and in other applications. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code provides for expunction, however, it is only possible to expunge one infraction, and the expungement cannot occur until you reach the age of 21.
Speak with a Texas underage drinking attorney.
Many well-meaning people intend to just plead guilty or “no contest” to a charge like MIP in order to pay the money and move on. While the need for rapid closure is understandable, it can have substantial long-term consequences that a criminal record entails. Speak with an underage drinking lawyer before responding to MIP or related charges. Many law firms charge modest costs, and the majority of cases are eventually dismissed. Call today to set up a private consultation.