The penalties for individuals who provide or sell alcohol to minors, or persons under the age of 21, can be harsh. Making alcohol available to minors is a Class A misdemeanor offense. Conviction on a Class A misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of up to one year, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. These individuals also will lose their driver’s licenses for up to 180 days following the date of their convictions.
Furthermore, adults who are over the age of 21 (other than parents or guardians) can be financially responsible for any damages caused by a minor under the age of 18 due to intoxication. This liability exists if the adults knowingly provided alcohol to a minor or allowed a minor to be served alcohol on property that they owned or leased.
Providing Alcohol to Minors
Charges of providing alcohol to minors often result from bartenders, liquor store owners, and hosts of parties who intentionally serve minors with alcohol. On college campuses, students who are over the age of 21 can be charged with this offense for serving individuals who are under the age of 21.
In order to be found guilty of this offense, the accused persons must have acted with criminal negligence in providing the alcohol to the minor. For instance, if the adult failed or declined to check the minor’s ID, he or she might be criminally negligent, particularly in the case of a liquor store employee or bar employee whose job it is to check IDs before serving anyone with alcohol.
If you are facing alcohol-related charges or other types of criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that your rights a protected at all stages of your criminal proceedings. At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you any accusations of wrongdoing that you may be facing. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.
Under Texas law, it is illegal to transport an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. In order to be an open container, the container must be an unsealed bottle, can, flask, or any other device to hold alcohol. Furthermore, for an open container to be present in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, it must be visible and reasonably within reach of the driver’s seat. An open container, however, is not considered to be in the passenger compartment of a vehicle if it is in a locked glove box or another locked storage area within the vehicle, if it is in the trunk of your vehicle, or if it is in the area of your upright seat, if your vehicle does not have a trunk.
Open Container Law in Texas
The Texas open container law applies when you are driving on a public road, but also when you are stopped and parked in, on, or immediately next to a public road. Therefore, you do not have to actually be caught driving in order to violate the open container law. Plus, even if a driver does not have an open container of alcohol, but his or her passenger does, both individuals could be charged with an open container offense because they both could reach the open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. This is the case even if the driver had no alcohol in his or her system at all at the time of the arrest.
Violation of the open container law is a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law, which means that you will receive a citation and fine for the offense. There is no possibility of jail time for this offense and the fine is not likely to be more than $500.
If you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.