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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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My 20 year old son received a ticket for consumption of alcohol

Resolved Question:

My 20 year old son received a ticket for consumption of alcohol bya minor, although 20 is a minor only where alcohol is concerned. He was told he could get out of the ticket if a parent tells the judge we served him, even though we weren't with him when he got the ticket. I know he can drink if we give it to him and he drinks in our presence, but what if he goes out with friends after and ends up getting a ticket?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for asking for me to help you with this situation. Although this charge is probably creating stress for you all at the moment, you will be able to get through it with relatively minor consequences.

The Texas code section regarding a minor consuming alcohol is Texas Statutes section 106.04, which reads in part:

(a) A minor commits an offense if he consumes an alcoholic beverage.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alcoholic beverage was consumed in the visible presence of the minor's adult parent, guardian, or spouse.
(c) An offense under this section is punishable as provided by Section 106.071.

Therefore, what you were told is correct only if he actually drank the alcohol in your presence. If that is the case and he was later cited without having had anything more to drink while not in your presence, that is a defense to the charge.

Let me offer a caveat to obviously concerned parents, however: do not tell the judge that you served him and he drank the alcohol in your presence if that is not true. For one thing, that would be perjury if done under oath (which it would be in a formal court proceeding). Perjury is a felony for which you can go to state prison (though that would not be likely in this situation). And, as a parent of four children myself (all adults now, but nevertheless having been through the whole minor/alcohol thing with them), it would set a really bad example for your son to cover up for him by lying to the court. An important part of this process is for him to take responsbility for his own actions.

Consumption of alcohol by a minor is a class C misdemeanor. Punishment for a first offense is specified in Texas Statutes section 106.071 aand includes a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $2000, a jail sentence of not more than 180 days or both. For a first offense, however, jail time would not normally be ordered.

In addition to the other penalties, the court must also order your son to perform not less than 8 and not more than 12 hours of community service which must be related to education about or prevention of alcohol abuse, if such a program is available in your area. Otherwise, the service must serve some rehabilitative purpose for the minor. The court must also order attendance at an alcohol awareness program.

Finally, the court must order his license to be suspended for 30 days, which will start on the 11th day after he is convicted.

However, the court may also allow what is called a deferred disposition, which means that your son would be placed on probation without actually pleading guilty or being convicted. The terms of his probation would still include the fine, community service and alcohol awareness program and if he completes the probation satisfactorily, the charge would be dismissed without a conviction on his record.

Good luck with this to you and your son.
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