2020 Holidays Look Different, But TX Laws on Underage Drinking Don’t

By November 17, 2020October 4th, 2021Minor in Possession (MIP), Sale of Alcohol to a Minor

2020 Holidays Look Different, But TX Laws on Underage Drinking Don't

If you work in a place that sells alcohol, then you better remember to card everyone that purchased from you. Failing to do so could put you in a position where you’ve sold alcohol to a minor – and that’s not a position you want to be in.

While many Texans enjoy alcohol legally and responsibly, being of legal age is crucial. Selling alcohol to minors or giving alcohol to minors means you are violating the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code, exposing yourself to serious legal consequences.

Even though this holiday season will almost certainly be unusual, there’s always going to be the constant that those under 21 aren’t served or given alcohol. Here’s what you need to know about these laws and the potential penalties for violating them.

The Sale of Alcohol to Texas Minors

The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code states that anyone under the age of 21 is a minor. There are no circumstances where it is legal to sell a minor alcohol.

Some may think of this offense as being relatively minor, but the truth is that it’s something taken very seriously by the state. The laws surrounding the sale of alcohol apply anywhere it is available for purchase such as:

  • Hotels
  • Liquor stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Bars and pubs

Anyone who works in one of these establishments is required by state law to check the identification of anyone who wishes to buy alcohol and their legal age is questionable. This is done to confirm the actual age of the person, since telling the court that they looked old enough would not be a solid defense.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • A United States passport
  • A driver’s license
  • A military ID card
  • An ID issued by the DPS

It’s important to note, however, that a person cannot be charged with the sale of alcohol to minors if the minor falsely represent their age as being over 21 on a fake identification card that appeared to be issued by a government agency contained their photograph and physical description.

Texas Penalties for Sale of Alcohol to a Minor

There are serious penalties for the sale of alcohol to a minor. It is a Class A misdemeanor and if you are found guilty you can face by up to 12 months in jail and a suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months.

Plus, if you are convicted of selling alcohol to a minor in Texas, you can lose your TABC license, which could effectively end your employment and prevent you from finding a job in another bar, restaurant, or other facilities that serve alcohol.

It’s also worth mentioning that if someone over 21 provides alcohol to someone under 18 and they are involved in an accident, the adult can be held liable for damages that result from the accident. That can also include criminal charges.

Defenses for the Sale of Alcohol to Minors in Texas

Defenses for the Sale of Alcohol to Minors in Texas

If you are charged with selling alcohol to a minor, then it’s important to seek the help of an experienced attorney to help you mount a robust defense. This is of vital importance since a conviction for this crime can have serious consequences for your future.

If you did card the person and they presented a fake piece of identification, then that’s a workable defense you should make your lawyer aware of.

About the Author:

Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.