What are the punishments for Underage Drinking Alcohol offenses, such as Minor in Consumption, Minor in Possession, Misrepresentation of Age, and Public Intoxication?
Per Texas Penal Code Sec.??106.071, an underage drinking offense is a Class C misdemeanor, charged as an adult (since Juvenile system is 17 and younger). However, if the defendant has been previously convicted at least twice of an underage drinking offense, then that defendant may be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, which is punished by a fine between $250-$2,000; confinement in jail for no more than 180 days; or both.
Plus, the Court may (and almost always must) order a minor placed on deferred disposition or convicted to perform community service, between 8-12 hours total, which must involve the prevention of misuse of alcohol. If previously convicted, the community service requirement is increased to between 20-40 hours.
There is also a license suspension if the defendant has prior underage drinking offenses, or if the first underage drinking offense results in a conviction. The suspension is as follows: 30 day suspension for first time offenders; 60 days, if previously convicted, and 180 days if previously convicted twice or more. A person may avoid the license suspension if the case results in a dismissal.
Upon arrest and subsequent plea bargaining with the court and the district attorney, a minor arrested for an alcohol related arrest may be required to attend an Alcohol Awareness Course in order to retain or obtain a Driver's License and avoid any subsequent Driver's License Suspensions. This is true even if the minor does not currently possess a Driver's License.
For Information on the Alcohol Awareness Class, be sure to read up on: TEXAS PENAL CODE Sec.??106.115.??ATTENDANCE AT ALCOHOL AWARENESS COURSE; DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSION.
On the placement of a minor on deferred disposition for an offense under Section 49.02, Penal Code, or under Section 106.02, 106.025, 106.04, 106.041, 106.05, or 106.07, the court shall require the defendant to attend an alcohol awareness program approved by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. On conviction of a minor of an offense under one or more of those sections, the court, in addition to assessing a fine as provided by those sections, shall require a defendant who has not been previously convicted of an offense under one of those sections to attend the alcohol awareness program.