Furnishing of Alcohol to a Minor usually falls into two main categories: cashiers and college age young adults. The Furnishing of Alcohol to a Minor law makes it illegal for a person over 21 years of age to give or sell alcohol to a minor (under 21). You can read the specific Statute and Punishments for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor below.
Retail clerks, checkout people, and employees of bars or restaurants, are the most common recipients of Furnishing of Alcohol to a Minor. Most of the time, serving an underage person is an oversight, often during a busy period of work. The offense is charged against the employee directly, and is a criminal offense. Often, the establishment is also cited, although through civil law or citation.
The second situation of Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor involve a friend or relative purchasing alcohol for a minor. Usually a party or while camping at one of the Travis County parks.
Related areas to Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor include tickets and offenses under the umbrella of underage drinking. Alcohol offenses involving individuals under 21 years of age, such as Minor in Possession of Alcohol, or Misrepresentation of Age involve minors either drinking alcohol or trying to drink. You can see more related legal offenses and topics below.
Travis County does prosecute Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor cases. The goal is obviously a dismissal of the case, but that depends on the individual facts of the case, and the defendant. Individuals with prior criminal records, or prior Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor arrests will be treated differently than a first offender, and a complete dismissal will be more of an uphill battle.
Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 14+ Years Experience handling Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.
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As mentioned below, many Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor cases result in negotiated dismissals. However, several defense exist. Primarily, there is a defense for a parent who is furnishing alcohol to their own child, in their presence. Second, the Furnishing Statute hinges upon ther legal standard "criminal negligence." A person is criminally negligent when he or she "ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur." The statute, Texas Penal Code 6.03, allows for consideration with respect to circumstances surrounding the conduct or the result of the conduct." While that's a legal mouthful, the take-away would be that if a person is truly duped into buying or serving alcohol to a minor, and acted with dilligence beforehand in checking the person's age, then they may have a decent 'intent' defense.
Although it's possible, usually a person charged with Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor is not arrested and taken to jail -- at least in Austin. TABC officers will often mail or deliver a citation requiring that person to appear in court to be Magistrated (fingerprinted and booked without going into the jail). Still, sometimes Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor does result in an arrest. Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.
Your goal should be Dismissal for any Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor charge. A Dismissal will allow a person to later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.
Keates Law Firm has a track record of dismissals for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor. Most Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor cases result in negotiated dismissals, where there's usually a trade-off of community service and a class in exchange for a dismissal -- but not always. The main hurdle is convincing the prosecutor to agree to dismiss the case, and Keates Law Firm has experience in Austin's Travis County courts doing just that.
Keates Law Firm also has a successful history of being retained by local buisnesses and bars for this type of offense. We also discount the rates for bars or businesses that retain our services on Furnishing of Alcohol to a Minor cases.
Furnishing of Alcohol is a Class A Misdemeanor, meaning the individual could face up to one year in jail and/or fines of up to $4000. Probation is also a possibility, although the focus should be getting the case dismissed.
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