Minor in consumption of alcohol means that a minor, a person under the age of 21, was given a citation or minor in consumption ticket for consuming an alcoholic beverage. A charge of minor in consumption is a class “C” misdemeanor under Texas law, which is a serious crime that can impact both you and your child’s future. The punishment for a minor in consumption conviction is a fine of up to $500.00, eight to twelve hours of community service, attendance at a mandatory alcohol awareness course approved by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and a thirty-day suspension of your driver’s license.
If a minor has two or more prior convictions for minor in possession, minor in consumption or driving under the influence, the minor in consumption charge can be enhanced to a class “B” misdemeanor, punishable by a fine between $250.00 and $2,000.00, up to 180 days in jail, a six-month suspension of your drivers license, and between twenty to forty hours of community service. If the minor complies with these parameters for deferred disposition, the case will likely be dismissed. However, if a minor is charged twice or more for an alcohol offense, he or she may not be eligible for deferred disposition and will not achieve dismissal through the above methods.
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It is important to understand that law enforcement does not need to actually observe the minor consuming the alcohol in order to charge the minor with consumption of alcohol. An officer may make the determination to charge the minor if the officer smells alcohol, or if the minor agrees to submit to a breathalyzer test and blows a number indicative of consumption of alcohol.
Mere possession of alcohol is not sufficient to charge an individual in Denton with minor in consumption. However, it is a crime for a minor to be found in the possession of alcohol and a minor in possession charge could be issued by law enforcement in such a case. It is important to understand that a minor can be charged with a possession violation for simply holding an empty can of beer or being present at a party where alcohol is present even if the minor is not physically holding the alcohol. A minor may also be subject to liability whenever he or she is present at a party, nightclub, or vehicle where alcohol is present. Thus, from a practical standpoint, a minor can face significant consequences for proximity to alcohol.
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A child, however, can legally consume alcohol in the following circumstances: (1) if the minor consumed alcohol in the visible presence of their adult (over the age of 21) or guardian, their spouse, or any other adult that is legally responsible for the minor; or (2) if the minor has requested medical assistance for either themselves or someone else relating to a possible alcohol overdose. For scenario two, the minor must remain at the scene of the incident until medical professionals arrive and must further cooperate with law enforcement and medical personnel. Additionally, a minor may not be charged if he or she is in possession of alcohol within the course and scope of their employment.
Receiving any type of criminal conviction can carry significant legal penalties and put a stain on your personal reputation. If you have been charged with minor in consumption of alcohol, you need quality and effective legal representation to protect your criminal record and Attorney Daniel K. Peugh can help you. It is important that you engage the services of an experienced and proven Texas criminal defense firm in order to achieve the best possible results in your case. Your rights and liberties are important and need protecting. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you.