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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13748
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I was given a ticket for selling alcohol to a minor. I am a

Customer Question

I was given a ticket for selling alcohol to a minor. I am a student and about to graduate next summer. Will this crime effect my employment oppurtunities? This is my first offence.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your question. This is a Class A misdemeanor under Texas law, so if convicted or you plead guilty to this offense, it will show up on a criminal background check, which can affect your employment opportunities. Specifically, the statute reads:

Sale to Minors (106.03)

  1. A person commits an offense if with criminal negligence he sells an alcoholic beverage to a minor.

  2. A person who sells a minor an alcoholic beverage does not commit an offense if the minor falsely represents himself to be 21 years old or older by displaying an apparently valid Texas driver's license or an identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, containing a physical description consistent with his appearance for the purpose of inducing the person to sell him an alcoholic beverage.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000.00 fine)

Additionally, your license can be suspended for up to 180 days.

I'm presuming you have a court date for your first appearance (which is where they will formally read the charge and allow you to enter a plea). If you don't have a private criminal defense lawyer by your court date, you need to show up to court and plead not guilty. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask the court to appoint you a public defender.

The court will then continue your case until a later date. Once you have an attorney, you need to discuss this matter with him or her. It's possible you may have a defense to the charge, or it possible as a first offender that your attorney could work out some kind of a plea to keep this off your record.

I hope this helps. If you need additional information, please click reply, and I will be happy to assist you further.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
If I am convicted, is there any chance for me to get the case expunged from public view? I was just helping my friend in his store, as his regular employee is off. I dont know the law regarding the sale of alcohol.And also I did not take the TABC Seller certification test at the time of this crime.Immediately after this incident, I took the TABC test and took the certification. I am not an employee there, Iam just a student, so can I convey these points to the court and get some kind of relief??
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
It would not be eligible to be expunged if you were convicted or plead guilty. Texas law provides that a record can only be expunged if charges are dismissed, a person is found not guilty or a conviction is reversed on appeal, a person is convicted by subsequently pardoned (very rare) or a person is convicted of certain "Class C" misdemeanors.

If you receive deferred adjudication, which is a form of probation often offered to first offenders where if you complete all the terms successfully, the charges are later dismissed, you could petition the court to have the record sealed, which would not destroy the record, but would seal it from public view (meaning it wouldn't show up in a background check). But, the law in Texas also says you have to wait 5 years after the case is dismissed in order to be eligible.

You can certainly convey the points you raised about not being TABC certified at the time (having your attorney raise them to the prosecutor would be better) but the fact is that ignorance of the law is not a defense. So, the fact that you had no training and weren't aware that you couldn't sell to a minor, or how to identify a minor, etc., is irrelevant. The only real defense provided under the statute is if the person used a false identification card apparently issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety that matched his physical description and that said he was of legal age.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
so if i file for deferred adjudication, how long will it take?( I mean is it immediate, since I got a job offer from National Instruments as a Programmer Analyst in Austin and I have to join the company in May 2011.) for the court to seal my charges?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. Deferred adjudication isn't something that you file for -it's something that would have to be offered to you by the prosecutor. It's a form of probation typically only offered to first time offenders where if you successfully complete all their terms (community service, pay fines/costs, whatever the terms are) then the charge is dismissed from your record.

BUT, Texas law says you can't file to have the record sealed until 5 years after the charge is dismissed.

It would still show up on a background check until then, but it would be noted that the charges were dismissed once you completed deferred adjudication.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
will this ticket will be shown if i apply a job in other states too? or just in the state of texas???
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
Depends on the type of background check a company does (if they do one, lots of companies don't, even if they say they do). Some background checks will only search state records, meaning if you apply out of state it wouldn't show up. But if their background check is inclusive and nationwide, it will likely show up. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell you what type of background check a company will do.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So my final question sir, is there any way for me to get this job? will the company consider it as a major crime to not offer me a job?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
I can't really answer for the company or any company. It really depends on their policies. There's no state or federal law that says you can't be hired with a misdemeanor conviction.

A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony and this isn't that big in the scheme of things. It was a mistake, but I don't think you won't get a job somewhere because of it. Heck, I went to law school with people who had misdemeanor convictions for everything from passing bad checks to DWI and they are now lawyers. And, you don't even know how this case is going to turn out -the charge could be dismissed, you could plead to a lesser charge, etc.

The most important thing to remember is if an employer or potential employer asks if you have ever been charged or convicted of a crime, to be honest. Just explain what happened. More people don't get hired or lose their jobs because they try to hide it, confident their employer won't find out, and of course they do.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
And what would be the legal charges if I hire a defense lawyer? approximately can you give me an idea, how it would be in my case??
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
If you're asking what the legal fees would be for a private defense attorney, obviously it's going to vary a little from lawyer to lawyer, but I would expect approximately between $1000-$2,000 without a trial. It's usually charged as a flat fee, as a opposed to an hourly fee.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
and what will be the benefits that I get from hiring a defense attorney?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
Well, a prosecutor is more likely to negotiate with a lawyer versus negotiating with a defendant. That's just the way it is, unfortunately. Also, a lawyer can review the evidence and determine your best course of action (whatever that may be). It's certainly better than just showing up to court, pleading guilty, and hoping the judge takes it easy on you.

The benefit of a private attorney over a public defender is this -a public defender has hundreds of cases at one time, a private attorney has far less because they get to pick and choose, and you are paying for their time. Both are licensed and perfectly qualified to zealously represent you, but if you are looking for easy access to your lawyer and some "hand holding" through the court process, you won't get that from your public defender, because they're just too busy. Given that you COULD face jail (you won't as a first time offender, but you could) it's important that you have a lawyer involved.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Sir, I just got confirmation from the court saying that the case is under exchange program in which I have to take some personality development class and do some community service and after that the case would be dismissed. If the case is dismissed will it still be publicly visible?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
The record of the court proceedings would still be publicly visible. But if the case is dismissed, you could then get it expunged, and that would seal any of the records so that no one could see them in the future (with very limited exception).
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How long should I wait for filing the expungement after the case is dismissed?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
Once the case is dismissed, you can petition for an expungement immediately. It does usually take a few months from start to finish, from the filing of the petition to a court granting the expungement. A judge can deny an expungement, but it's rare they would do so, especially for a first offense and where you'll have successfully completed all program terms.

I'd suggest at least consulting with a criminal defense lawyer about an expungement, even if you later decide to try and do it yourself.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I heard from one of my friends that if you are expunged then unless you are under oath, you can deny the conviction even with the law enforcement authorities?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
With most every job application, you can deny the conviction ever happened, and most employers won't be able to find it on a background check. There are exceptions to the rule -if you apply to be a lawyer, a teacher, an accountant, etc., generally those applications do require you to admit all convictions, even dismissed/expunged ones, and their background checks ARE able to see the expunged conviction (though I have no idea how). I suspect the same would apply to a law enforcement position, especially since if you ever get in trouble with the law again, the police and courts will be able to see the expunged record. \

If you're thinking of applying for a position with law enforcement or the police academy, etc., I suggest calling them and see what they say. I would imagine each application is reviewed on a case by case basis, and having a misdemeanor that was expunged isn't going to hurt you. Heck, I know lawyers who were convicted of everything from DUI to drug possession that are now practicing.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dear Sir, today i went to the county court and they explained everything about the exchange program that I have mentioned previously which is a pre trial diversion, in which it is stated that once I complete the exchange program (community service, personality development class, an essay and no fine) successfully, "Criminal charges will NOT be filed against you and you will not have a conviction on your record".

Is this literally mean that once I successfully complete this program, there would be nothing in my history?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 6 years ago.
As I said, there would be no record of the charge if you successfully complete the program, but you still need to expunge the court records, which can show up in a background check. Also, as I mentioned, If you are applying for a government job, a job that requires security clearance, or a job that requires a government-issued license, certificate or permit, you will likely have to disclose the conviction and expungement in these situations on any application, because even expunged, the record will show up in these types of background checks.