If you or a loved one has been arrested for being a minor in possession of alcohol, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so these charges do not have long-lasting negative impacts. Criminal charges may impact a young person’s ability to apply to certain degree programs, to stay enrolled in a college or university, or to secure employment. However, with an experienced criminal defense attorney, those arrested for being minors in possession of alcohol may be able to have their charges reduced or dismissed.
What does the law say in Texas?
The text of the law is straightforward: A minor, defined as some under 21 years of age, breaks the law if he or she possesses an alcoholic beverage.
Possession may include:
- Holding a cup that contains an alcoholic beverage
- Having an alcoholic beverage in a handbag or in one’s pocket
The law does provide certain exceptions that allow a minor to possess alcohol. For example, if the minor possesses the beverage as part of that minor’s employment, no crime has been committed.
Additionally, minors are allowed to possess alcohol in the presence of their parents or guardians.
In certain educational programs, minors are allowed to taste alcoholic beverages without facing criminal liability for possessing alcohol.
Penalties for being a minor in possession of alcohol
If no exceptions apply and a minor is arrested for possessing alcohol, that minor may be convicted of a class C misdemeanor. In Texas, class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition, those convicted may be required to complete community service and enroll in an alcohol awareness course. Further, the offender’s license may be suspended for up to thirty days.
Are there any other defenses available to minor in possession charges?
Although the statute clearly lays out some exceptions to liability for being a minor in possession, there are other defenses a minor may be able to raise in these claims.
For example, perhaps there was no alcohol in the drink the minor was holding. If the cops arrived at a house party and arrested several teenagers for drinking, these teenagers may be able to fight their charges if they can show they were not actually drinking alcohol.
Why hire an attorney for minor in possession charges?
Although a minor in possession charge is a class C misdemeanor that does not require jail time, it is still important to fight these charges. A minor in possession charge is still a crime—meaning that the minor will have a criminal record if the charges stand. Criminal charges may result in an expulsion from a college or university. Criminal charges may bar an offender from obtaining employment. And, of course, criminal charges may cause the offender to be labeled a “criminal.”
What does a criminal defense attorney do?
Prosecutors must prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the prosecutor must show that the only conclusion a jury could draw from the facts of the case is that the accused did commit the crime. Criminal defense attorneys challenge the evidence presented by prosecutors. They also pinpoint defenses and provide evidence of those defenses to the court.
If you need help with criminal charges, call today
If you or a loved one has been arrested for minor in possession charges, call the Hampton Eppes Law Group. Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor with experience in all types of criminal charges. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.