One of the most stressful times as a parent is teaching their minors about the peer pressures of alcohol and drugs. Attorney Steve Toland begins a series on minors and alcohol in Texas. In this video, he discusses four rules or things to remember about minors in alcohol consumption or underage drinking in Texas.
1. Any amount of alcohol that can subject your child to a ticket for minors and consumption
As you are aware, you have to be 21 or over to drink alcohol. Therefore, any amount of alcohol counts. There is a myriad of ways that a police officer can prove that your child has consumed alcohol, such as alcohol smelled on their breath, or they admit to drinking alcohol. Although rare, they can also get a breath or blood test.
2. Minor in consumption of alcohol is a class C ticket.
A class C ticket is punishable up to a $500 fine, and it can stay on their record. If you’re not careful, it can really hamper children applying to college. Most college applications ask about any contact with law enforcement, any ticketable offense, not just arrestable offenses.
3. There is an exception that exists for minors and consumption, but it’s really narrow.
In a nutshell, the exception says that if you are within a vantage point or within eyesight of your parents, spouse, or guardian, you’re allowed to drink alcohol. But that’s a rare exception. Kids who are caught drinking alcohol are usually not doing it in front of their parents. They are generally with their friends.
Remember that a guardian is somebody who under Texas laws is their caretaker and guardian and has those rights under the law. Chaperones don’t count. For example, you can’t have a couple of parents watch over a teenage party.
4. There is a medical assistance exception for minors and consumption of alcohol
This is a great thing that the Texas legislature carved out to protect kids and encourage them to report overindulgence of alcohol or potential alcohol poisoning. So, any conversation you have with your kiddos, you want to be able to really talk to them about this exception. Suppose they find themselves scared because they had too much to drink. In that case, they can call and tell any hospital staff, medical assistant, or a police officer for help. They will not be charged with a minor in consumption as long as they tell the truth.
The exception also applies to a friend. Suppose you are a friend of somebody who’s had too much to drink, and you may have had a few sips of alcohol as well. However, if you are afraid that your friend might be at risk of alcohol poisoning, you can report it and not get charged with a minor consumption ticket, either. As long as you stay the entire time to cooperate with the police, the medical staff, and you stay with your friend until their parents come or someone is there with them.
As always, if you have any questions about these issues, please reach out to us. We are always glad to help.