If you are under the age of 21 years old, you are not legally allowed to have any alcoholic beverages in your possession. The only times you are allowed to have alcoholic beverages in your possession as a minor are:
- During the course and scope of your employment if the law permits for your type of employment;
- While you are in the visible presence of your parent(s), guardian, spouse, or other adult to whom you have been committed by a court; or
- While you are in the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the law dealing with age related alcohol offenses
If you are a minor and have been charged with alcohol in your possession, the punishment for a first time offender is a <class C misdemeanor>. Additional punishments for minors in possession include alcohol awareness courses, community service, and driver’s license suspension. If you have prior alcohol related charges, the offense can be more severe. For the offense of minor in possession, prior convictions are BOTH convictions where you are found guilty and orders of deferred adjudication. Additionally, the Department of Transportation could suspend your driver’s license anywhere from 30 days to 180 days depending on how many convictions a minor has had for an age related alcohol offense.
A minor who has no more than ONE alcohol related offense under the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code may apply to the court they were convicted from to have the charge expunged (removed in its entirety) from their record. If you have received more than one charge, you are no longer capable of the expungement procedure provided by the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code.
If you have received a citation for MIP, a commissioned peace officer has claimed that you were in the possession of alcohol. Possession does not mean consuming (see <Minor In Consumption>); possession involves the exercise of control, management, or care over the controlled substances. Possession can also be constructive, when a minor has the ability to control the object. Constructive possession allows minors to be at risk of receiving a citation for minor in possession. Some examples of constructive possession are when a minor:
- operates a vehicle (i.e., in control of a vehicle) with alcohol in the compartment or trunk
- rides in a vehicle as a passenger with a minor driver and there is alcohol readily accessible within the vehicle
- has a beer can as a spit cup for chewing tobacco
- holds a beer momentarily for another individual
If you are merely around alcohol, you have not possessed alcohol and our not in violation of the law. The prosecutor (State of Texas) has the burden to prove that you were in possession of alcohol beyond a reasonable doubt.
The exact language of this law, further details, and additional punishment concerns can be found in section 106.05 of the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code. None of this information can take place of the information, knowledge, and expertise provided by a licensed attorney.