Minor in Possession and Minor in Consumption of Alcohol Attorney in Austin, Texas
CONTACT US AT 512-457-5200
As the new 2016-2017 school year starts back up, many students will be returning to campuses to be reunited with old friends, starting new friendships and experiencing all that university life has to offer. This ritual returning to campus also includes social events like parties and visits to bars, which is all well and good if you are of legal drinking age, but what if you’re not? At a young age, students may feel a pressure to drink with their friends as it is part of the social life at many colleges and even high schools, but is the pressure to fit in with the crowd worth the risk?
In this post, Austin criminal defense attorney, Jason Trumpler discusses the risks and consequences of being caught drinking or in possession of alcohol when you are under the legal drinking age of 21.
Minor in Possession
In a previous post, we discussed Fake IDs and how they are a hot commodity on college campuses because they allow the underage student the ability to purchase alcohol and drink without being 21. Our post noted that there are consequences for being caught with a Fake ID or attempting to purchase alcohol but what if someone else purchased your favorite bottle of vodka or case of beer and you happen to get caught with it?
Even though it may seem far-fetched there are instances when a minor will be caught in possession of alcohol: An example could be that police were called due to a noise complaint of a loud party and the minor was the host of or present at the party where alcohol was served. Another example is getting pulled over by law enforcement and having alcohol (unopened) in the vehicle. Even though public drinking is not allowed in Texas – you’d be surprised how many people are caught in public walking around with open containers. It is because of these circumstances that it is important to be aware that an alcohol charge is not what you want to be dealing with at the start of a new school year.
The Texas Alcohol Beverage Code states that a minor in possession (MIP) is when a minor is holding, in control of, transporting or anything else that could be “beyond reasonable doubt” that the minor is in possession of alcohol. The code is very specific and in addition to the examples cited above, an MIP charge can be given for simply taking empty cans or bottles to the trash or holding an alcoholic drink for friend.
The consequences for being caught in possession of alcohol are a Class C Misdemeanor citation, participation in an alcohol awareness class (which can range in costs), 8-40 hours of community service, and/or 30-180 days of driver’s license suspension. For minors who have previous alcohol convictions and are 17 years of age of or older the consequences can also include fines ranging from $250 - $2000 and driver’s license suspension for up to one year along with up to 180 days in the county jail.
Minor in Consumption
This charge is a little more straightforward and TABC describes it as when a minor consumes an alcoholic beverage. This citation can be issued within some of the same circumstances as an MIP like at a private party or residence when a minor is proven to be intoxicated. While it is not a Public Intoxication charge, a Minor in Consumption is simply a minor involved with drinking alcohol but not in possession of an alcoholic beverage. Officers often charge this crime when they claim they smell alcohol on a minor's breath.
The consequences for a Minor in Consumption are similar to an MIP charge which includes a Class C Misdemeanor citation, an alcohol awareness class, community service and/or suspension of a driver’s license or delayed issuance of a driver’s license or permit. If the minor is under 18 years of age the court may require the parent or legal guardian to also take an alcohol awareness class with the minor. If the minor has been caught with multiple alcohol related offenses, they will no longer be eligible for deferred adjudication.
There are some circumstances where in Texas it is legal for a minor to have an alcoholic beverage like in the visible presence of a parent or guardian. And when it is legal for a minor to be in consumption like on the property of a parent or legal guardian or during a college course when the college has the proper licensure.
It is also very important to remember that if a minor calls Emergency Services for an alcohol overdose or poisoning that they WILL NOT be charged with any of these offenses. Don’t be afraid to get yourself or your friend the help you need! You will not be cited if you are requesting medical assistance for possible alcohol overdose or any other form of intoxication that could risk your life or someone else’s.
The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler is available to consult you or a loved one who has been charged with one of these offenses. We can’t guarantee an outcome but we always work our hardest to get you the best possible result. We are experienced working in the counties and court offices that include the campuses of the University of Texas, St. Edwards University, and Texas State University. Call our offices at 512-457-5200 at any time to discuss your case! And remember to never hesitate to call 9-1-1 if you or a friend are experiencing medical distress as a result of alcohol intoxication.
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