How Can I Be Charged with Underage Drinking?
In Texas, minors and alcohol don’t go together according to the law. Minors are forbidden in Texas from purchasing, attempting to acquire, using, or possessing alcohol. Texas has a number of regulations that target minors who consume alcohol. A minor is defined as someone under 21 years of age under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. This page will clarify Texas underage drinking regulations, such as Minor in Consumption (MIC) and Minor in Possession (MIP). It can be hard to tell the difference between different alcohol charges. This guide explains the abbreviations and punishments for each offense involving underage drinking.
What is Minor In Possession?
A minor in possession (MIP) is written under Alcohol Beverage Code Chapter 106.05, which states a crime occurs when a person under the age of 21 appears with alcohol or alcoholic beverages in a public place or in a motor vehicle. MIP focuses on the actual physical possession of alcohol by a minor.
It is not necessary for the minor to have consumed the alcohol; merely having it in their possession can lead to charges. If you’re underaged and seen holding an alcoholic drink in public, you could end up facing an MIP charge.
What is Minor In Consumption?
Alcohol Beverage Code Chapter 106.04 refers to Minor in Consumption (MIC), which is the act of consuming alcohol by someone under the age of 21 years. Unlike MIP, which focuses on possession, Minor Consumption of alcohol focuses on minors’ use of alcoholic beverages. The key basis of a MIC accusation is that the minor drank alcohol. A breathalyzer test, blood test, or other evidence of alcohol intake may be required.
Penalties of Minor in Possessing or Consuming Alcohol
For both MIC and MIP, they are classified as Class C misdemeanors and can result in:
- A potential fine of up to $500.
- 12 hours of community service
- Driver’s license suspension for 30 days.
- Mandatory enrollment in alcohol awareness classes sanctioned by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
If it’s your second offense, it’s considered a Class B misdemeanor, which entails:
- A fine ranging from $250 to $2,000.
- Possible imprisonment for up to 180 days
- Between 20 and 40 hours of community service
- A six-month suspension of your driver’s license.
- Compulsory participation in an alcohol awareness course as required by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code
Alcohol Level of 0.15 and Above:
If your alcohol level measures 0.15 or higher, it elevates the offense to a Class A misdemeanor, which carries:
- A maximum fine of $4,000.
- A one-year prison sentence is possible.
Minor in Consumption and Minor in Possession are similar as they both involve underage individuals and alcohol-related issues. MIC aims to decrease underage drinking, while MIP targets minors trying to enter alcohol-selling places or buying alcohol. Both offenses might result in a misdemeanor charge, which can become a permanent blemish on a person’s criminal record. Furthermore, such violations may result in jail time, fines, and other consequences, such as the suspension of driving privileges. The following activities may result in a MIP or MIC charge:
- In possession of alcoholic beverages.
- Attempting to buy alcohol with counterfeit ID.
- Any form of alcohol consumption in a public setting.
- Using a fake ID to gain entry to a licensed alcohol establishment.
- Seeking someone over the age of 21 to buy alcohol on their behalf.
Defense for Minor in Possession/Minor in Consumption Charges
- If the minor has a job with a licensee or permittee that’s all good in Texas, they’re totally cool to handle alcohol as part of the gig.
- If the minor is in the visible presence of their adult parent, guardian, spouse, or another adult to whom a court has entrusted the minor’s care, they can be around alcohol without violating the law.
- If a minor is under the watchful eye of a commissioned peace officer who’s actively enforcing the Alcohol and Beverage Code, it’s totally legitimate for them to be in the presence of alcohol.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you find yourself facing charges for Minor in Possession (MIP) or Minor in Consumption (MIC) in Texas, it’s crucial not to rush into pleading guilty. Legal processes in these cases can be intricate and demanding. Therefore, entrusting your case to a professional Student Defense Lawyer is of utmost importance.
Reach out to our dedicated team at the Texas Criminal Defense Group to initiate a conversation about your specific circumstances. We can assist you in exploring options to lessen the impact of a mistake on your life. These options include diverting, reducing, or dismissing charges, as well as minimizing long-term consequences.