Misrepresentation of Age

What is Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor?

Texas Law states that it is a crime for a person under the age of 21 to falsely state he is 21. It is also illegal, under the same statute, for a minor to present any document indicating he is over 21 to a bartender, bar, bouncer, or restaurant (basically anyone engaged in selling or serving alcoholic beverages.)

Even if the person is turned down by the doorman at the bar, and never touches any alcohol, they can still be charged under the Underage drinking laws.

What are the Punishments?

Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by fines of up to $500. Because this offense is lumped in with the other underage drinking offenses, there is a potential, upon conviction, to suspend the minor's driver's License or delay the ability to obtain one.

If convicted, the minor must attend and complete a mandatory education class for alcohol awareness, and must complete community service at an anti-alcohol agency or group (organizations that aid those with alcohol issues or alcohol awareness).

Priors and More Information

For repeat offenders, who have been previously convicted at least twice of an offense to which this section applies, the offense is punishable by: (1) a fine of not less than $250 or more than $2,000;(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or(3) both the fine and confinement.

Issues and Defenses

Especially with college students, there is a tendency to charge minors with Misrepresentation of Age if they are found to have a Fake ID, even if never presented to anyone in an attempt to obtain alcohol. Obviously the argument from the prosecutor is "Why would they have it if not to use it," but the statute is clear that it is illegal to "present" the ID, not to merely possess it. While there are other offenses an angered prosecutor might charge based on a false ID card in a minor's possession, if they do not have a witness to testify about the minor 'using' or 'presenting' the ID, then it's doubtful the prosecutor can make the case and obtain a conviction.

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(a) A minor commits an offense if he falsely states that he is 21 years of age or older or presents any document that indicates he is 21 years of age or older to a person engaged in selling or serving alcoholic beverages.

Penalties for Misrepresentation of Age
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines

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