Underage drinking is a major problem in Texas and costs the state around $5.5 billion annually. There was a study done on secondary schools in the state and the results were astonishing. In the study 68 percent of students reported lifetime use of alcohol, 33 percent reported current use, 23 percent say they binge drink, and 68 percent claimed it was easy to obtain alcohol if they wanted it. With these high numbers of underage alcohol consumption it is important to inform minors of Texas underage drinking laws, penalties associated with consumption, and the consequences that follow.
If you are a minor in the state of Texas and you purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol for the first time and are caught you will be charged with:
- Class C misdemeanor
- May be required to attend an Alcohol Awareness class
- 20 to 40 hours of community service
- 60 days of drivers license suspension
For second offenses the punishment is the same except you may be required to do community service for 40 to 60 hours with up to 120 days of license suspension. If a minor is 17 years of age or older and this is their 3rd offense they can be fined up to $2,000, placed in jail for up to 180 days, and can have their license suspended for 180 days with no occupational license.
If you are an adult in Texas you are not allowed to provide alcohol to any minor even if they are on your property, or have parental permission, unless the parent is with them. Remember that your residence is your responsibility. If you violate this you can be sentenced up to one year in jail with a $4,000 fine. Your driver’s license could be suspended for 6 months, and there is a possibility that you can be sued if the person you administered the alcohol to hurt someone else, themselves, or damaged property.
Fake IDs in Texas
Fake ID’s are a major problem among high school and college age students. If you are caught in possession of a fake ID, or caught delivering or manufacturing counterfeit identification you can be charged with:
- Possession, Class C misdemeanor
- Possession of Counterfeit Identification, Class A misdemeanor, up to $4,000 fine and 1 year in jail
- Tampering with Governmental Record, 3rd degree felony, 2-10 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000
Consequences of underage drinking go far beyond just physical damage. Misdemeanors appear on criminal background checks, so if you are applying for a job and don’t get it that may be why. Applying for admission to graduate school is a competitive process and having a misdemeanor or felony on your record will be a setback. In the long run having any offense from underage drinking on your record will hurt your reputation and credibility in the eyes of everyone around you.