Minor if I buy them alcohol is it a big deal?

In 1984, the Federal Government enacted the Uniform Drinking Age Act. Under this act, the Federal Government began withholding highway funds from states who decided not to increase the drinking age. By 1988 all states had raised the limit to 21 years of age and increased the penalties for providing alcohol to minors.

Although there are many opponents of this laws, including some college administrators who argue the issues created from the illegalization of alcohol for many students has created greater issues on campus, there are many proponents as well. Proponents argue that the benefits far outweigh the negatives, especially the reduction of alcohol-related issues for minors such as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Arrested for Drunk Driving

Recently on our DUI forum a parent asked, “My son is going to turn 21 soon and he is attending a Texas college. Since most of his friends are underage, I am afraid they will ask him to purchase alcohol for them. If he does purchase alcohol for minors what are the potential penalties and fines he may encounter and can he be charged with a crime?”

Underage Minor Drinking Laws in Texas

In the state of Texas it is illegal for a minor to possess, consume, purchase, or attempt to purchase alcohol. If a minor decides to attempt any of these actions they can be charged with a crime. Penalties and fines include the following:

  • Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
  • Alcohol awareness class
  • 8 to 40 hours community service
  • 30 to 180 days loss or denial of driver’s license

What if I provide alcohol to a minor?

Many college students who have just turned 21 are eager to celebrate with their friends. Unfortunately, if their friends are under the age of 21 and they decide to purchase alcohol for them, they could face stiff penalties including:

  • A class A misdemeanor charge
  • Fines up to $4,000
  • Confinement in jail for up to a year,
  • Automatic driver´s license suspension for 180 days upon conviction

Personal injury and minor in possession

Adults who provide alcohol to minors should also be aware that if the minor is injured or causes injury to another person and the court determines the adult who gave them the alcohol is negligent, the adult could be held responsible for the damages caused by the intoxicated minor.

What if a minor is arrested with alcohol in their system?

Unlike adults who may operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, assuming they can do so safely, Texas has instituted a zero tolerance for minors operating a motorized vehicle.

Texas minors, who are arrested with any alcohol in their blood, even if they are driving safely, can be charged with DUI. If a minor is convicted of DUI they can face the following penalties:

  • Charged with a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
  • Mandatory attendance of an alcohol awareness program
  • 20 to 40 hours of mandatory community service
  • 60 days driver’s license suspension. The minor would not be eligible for an occupational license for the first 30 days.

Bottom line:

Providing alcohol to minors can have very serious consequences for your son. Getting a drink or two after he turns 21 may be fine, but make sure he knows not to invite any minors.

Information provided by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC).

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Beth

Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.