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Minors in Possession of Alcohol in Texas: What You Need to Know

Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Toland continues his series about Minors and Alcohol. Today he discusses minors in possession of alcohol.

Last week he discussed the rules of underage drinking and the consumption of alcohol. Today he discusses what it means to have possession of alcohol, where minors are most at risk, and how a minor could be charged with alcohol possession in Texas.

The What 

If you’re under 21 and you’re outside of parental or guardianship supervision, you’re not allowed to possess alcohol in any way. Pretty straightforward. 

The Where

We know that kids under 21 don’t always think these things through, so they need to note where they are most at risk. 

The most obvious is a night at a nightclub. There are clubs where 18 and older are allowed to enter. If they’re sitting at a table and there’s alcohol, they can be accused and charged with that. 

Other common places are a car, a fraternity or sorority house, tailgating, social gathering, or a school event. Any of those scenarios are areas minors should be aware of the potential risks of being charged with alcohol possession.  

The How 

How do they prove this? It’s through this essential element of the crime known as constructive possession. If you’re touching it, if you’re in control of it or an immediate reachable area, it can be a possession of alcohol. For example, or if you’re at a table and there’s a pitcher of beer and cups scattered, they’re going to view that as constructive possession. If you have the reachable ability to possess that alcohol, a police officer will likely charge you with a minor in possession. 

The penalty range is just the same for other class Cs that we’ve talked about with alcohol. It’s up to a $500 fine. It’s not a jailable offense. However, it can stay on your record. Many applications like college, grad school, and even employment are now asking if you’ve had any contact with law enforcement, and that includes a citation. 

As always, if you have a loved one that is struggling with this issue, or has questions about minors in possession or consumption of alcohol, reach out to us here at Peek & Toland.

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