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Texas Underage Drinking Laws

Texas has some of the strictest laws in place against underage drinking in the US. They punish minors (anyone under 21) who attempt to purchase, purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. Minors can also be punished for being intoxicated in public or having a fake ID that misrepresents their age.

What’s the Punishment?

Minors charged with violating underage drinking laws (a Class C misdemeanor) can face the following punishments:

  • Fine up to $500

  • Required attendance of alcohol awareness class (Note- if the minor has a previous underage drinking charge and fails to attend alcohol awareness class, their driver’s license will be suspended for one year).

  • Between 8 and 40 hours of community service

  • Loss of driver’s license between 30 to 180 days

  • If a minor is 17 years old or older, and they are on their third underage drinking offense, they can face much more serious consequences, like an increased fine of up to $2,000, automatic suspension of driver’s license, and jailtime for up to 180 days.

Texas’s Zero Tolerance Law

Texas passed a Zero Tolerance Law in 2009 that states it is illegal for anyone under 21 to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any amount alcohol, not just over 0.08.

Even Worse…

If you’re over 21, you can still be charged just as easily for providing alcohol to a minor. In fact, even other minors can be charged with this. These laws tend to hand out even stricter punishments, as the charge is qualified as a Class A misdemeanor. Additional penalties include:

  • Fine up to $4,000

  • Jailtime of up to one year

  • Automatic suspension of driver’s license for 180 days

  • Can be held liable for any damages done by the minor on the property owned or leased by the adult.

If you or someone you love has been charged with an alcohol-related offense, contact Austin DWI Lawyers at Carroll Troberman, PLLC.