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Parties, Alcohol, and Minors

Springtime leads to parties for many high school students. Reasons to party include prom, graduation, spring break, or it is warm and we are ready to be done with school. When those parties involve alcohol, those young people may be picking up citations for possession of alcohol by a minor or consumption of alcohol by a minor under Chapter 106 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.

These parties are often broadcast on Facebook, Twitter, or other Social Media. Recently a party of teenagers was blasted on Facebook with a location out in the county away from adult supervision. The invitation promised alcohol, no parents, and a promise of “NO COPS!” Local law enforcement saw the announcement on Facebook. Turns out the invitation was correct about the location, the alcohol, and the lack of parents. The invitation was incorrect about the presence of law enforcement. Multiple students from the local high school were issued MIPs (Minor in Possession) or consumption of alcohol by a minor citations.

I represented a couple high school seniors who got busted at a similar party during spring break. The two high school baseball players quickly discovered they had put their college baseball scholarships at a private university in jeopardy when they were issued MIP citations. Thankfully, I was able to help them get their tickets dismissed. Both young men went off to college with scholarships in place.

Assuming it is the minor’s first offense, a good criminal defense attorney will likely be able to get the case dismissed or deferred so it will not have a lasting legal ramification. Parents worry about the lasting legal and social ramifications when they learn that their son or daughter has been busted for an alcohol offense. What many people do not consider is the person who provided the alcohol for the party. According to Chapter 106 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, it is a Class A misdemeanor to provide alcohol to any minor who is not your child.

I have heard many a good intentioned parent offer to host a party and provide the alcohol for high school students. The argument generally is something like, “it is better for them to drink and stay at my house than to drink and drive home.” The logic may or may not be sound. Regardless of the logic, the parent who is providing alcohol for such a shindig is committing a crime. To provide a minor who is not your child is a class A misdemeanor. That little party the “cool” parents are hosting could put them in jail for a year and facing a $4,000.00 fine.

To provide alcohol for the high school party may or may not be teaching the children to be responsible users of alcohol. It is teaching those teenagers that the law does not really apply to them and that laws and rules can be ignored.

Whether it is you or your youth who is facing a judge for a violation of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, make sure you have a criminal defense attorney who will work hard for you. Call me. I can help.

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