Underage drinking is a problem in many states in America. It often causes issues, such as minors getting hurt or harming someone else while they were consuming alcohol or under its effects.
The law is very clear. Even though there are some aspects people sometimes don't understand, the risks of allowing minors to drink are very high.
People can get hurt, harm someone else or their loved ones, and destroy property.
In this article, people will learn what they need to know about allowing minors to drink in the Lone Star State. If problems arise, adults must face legal consequences, which could be very complicated, especially if someone else was hurt.
At What Age Can People Drink in Texas?
In the state of Texas, people can have alcoholic beverages when they're 18 or older. However, laws are different if the person is under adult supervision, which many people don't know or understand.
Texas is one of the few states in which minors can drink alcoholic beverages under the supervision of a consenting adult, which could be a family member.
The law allows minors to drink an alcoholic beverage, as long as the consenting adult is visibly present. Even so, people under the age of 18 might still not be able even to have a beer when they go out to some restaurants or bars.
Overall, it depends a lot on whether or not bartenders want to risk it. Public intoxication is still illegal, regardless of the age of the drinker.
Therefore, some businesses won't want to risk it and will refuse to sell drinks to minors, even if adults are present.
In the worst-case scenario, the business could lose its liquor license or get a suspension. Consequently, even though laws for underage drinking are more flexible in Texas than in other states, they can still cause people to get in trouble. Overall, managers will try to avoid issues as much as they can.
What Are Legal Consenting Adults?
The definition of legal consenting adults is essential when discussing underage drinking in Texas.
It consists of a family member over the age of 18 who must be visibly present when the minor is consuming alcohol.
The person could be the minor's adult parent, but it can also be a guardian or spouse who is present while they consume alcohol.
What Is the Difference Between Providing Alcohol and Making it Available?
There's an essential difference between giving alcohol to a minor and making it available. In the first case, the adult will hand them a drink.
Making alcohol available for minors is illegal since it means it's out in the open, and underage people can have it when they want.
Upon violation of the law, parents or guardians may face a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or even suspension of their driver's license.
Are There Underage Drinking Parties in Texas?
Unfortunately, yes. Numerous people are hosting underage drinking parties in Texas since the law doesn't allow 18-year-olds or minors to purchase alcohol by themselves.
Sometimes, older people will buy alcohol themselves and host parties where everyone can drink alcohol. It's both irresponsible and dangerous.
If parents aren't home and the police find the party, guardians might face charges for their children.
Adults might have to deal with multiple legal charges, including allowing the possession of alcohol.
It could be much worse if other drugs are involved. Therefore, the best option is to teach children that they can't drink until they're 18 years of age or older. Parents should also remind them that they can't purchase alcohol until after they're 21.
Many people have complained about alcohol laws, saying that the US should be more lenient and allow 18-year-olds to buy or consume alcohol without the parents or guardians dealing with legal consequences.
However, statistics on deaths related to alcohol consumption are probably behind many of the most strict laws.
Risks of Letting a Minor Drink Alcoholic Beverages in Texas
As the article mentioned before, parents, guardians, or even adults present are civilly liable for allowing minors to drink served alcohol and making it available for them.
According to the law, for adults to face penalties, they have to knowingly provide alcohol or allow someone else to serve it at a party or property they own or lease. Some of these scenarios can also happen:
The minor might get injuries or die as a result of drinking.
Minors might accidentally hurt themselves or someone else, or suffer from a sexual assault as a consequence of having consumed alcohol.
The minor damages someone else's property.
Minors leave the party in a motor vehicle and are in an accident, causing harm to themselves or others.
In addition, the law states that parents are not only responsible for alcohol possession when it comes to minors. They must also make sure they're safe while they're on their property, regardless of whether they own or lease it.
Why Do Laws Prohibit Minors from Drinking Alcohol?
Laws don't allow businesses to sell alcohol to a minor and refrain people from drinking under the age of 18 for specific reasons.
The brain doesn't finish its development process until people are over the age of 21. Therefore, according to science, minors can't make all of their decisions by themselves.
Alcoholic beverages are not dangerous by themselves, but if minors drink too much, they might engage in perilous or reckless behaviors.
Parents, guardians, and spouses are responsible for ensuring people don't drink if they're under their drinking age.
If there is alcohol at home, they should not make it available to their children. At the same time, they should teach them to wait until they have the proper age to try drinks and always care for them while they're on their property.
Are There Long-term Consequences?
There are multiple consequences when it comes to allowing a minor to drink alcohol. If a parent, guardian, or spouse makes drinks available to them, they might have to do community service or even get jail time, depending on how many times the issue has happened. Contact our DWI law firm in Fort Worth for more information.
If it's the second time it happens, it classifies as a Class C misdemeanor. Therefore, the consequences might be more complicated.
When it's the third offense, parents, guardians, or spouses will face an immediate driver's license suspension, a fine, and most likely jail time.
Furthermore, when businesses are involved, the place might have to deal with an alcohol license suspension.
Lastly, other factors can also influence the consequences adults have to deal with if they allow people to consume alcohol under the legal drinking age. If the minor drives a motor vehicle, is in an accident, and hurts someone else, they may even have to handle civil lawsuits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Legal Drinking Age in Texas?
In Texas, the legal drinking age is 18 years old. However, people can't buy alcohol until they're 21.
Sometimes, staff in bars or restaurants will allow minors to have a drink if they're with their parents or guardians. However, it depends on the place since many businesses will try to stay out of trouble.
According to the law, minors can drink if they're with a legally consenting adult. However, making alcohol available to them is still illegal.
Can Minors Drink if They're with Their Parents?
Yes, they can. However, if they get hurt, harm someone else, or damage a property, the parents will have to deal with the legal consequences of it.
Minors are allowed to drink if they're with their guardians or parents. Nonetheless, adults are still legally responsible for what they do and what happens to them.
Furthermore, if parents are away and there is an underage drinking party on their property, they're also legally liable for having permitted it. They might have to handle much more complicated consequences if someone got hurt while consuming alcohol.
Is it Illegal for Minors to Buy Alcohol in Texas?
Yes. People under the age of 18 can't buy alcohol in Texas. However, others over 21 years old could buy drinks and hand them to them, making the process very complicated to handle.
Oftentimes, Texas houses are homes to underage drinking reunions and parties, in which minors will consume alcohol because others make it available to them. It could be their parents or strangers. In any case, it's illegal and dangerous.
Underage drinking is illegal in Texas, and even though minors could have a drink if they're with a visibly present legally consenting adult, the risks of engaging in this behavior might be too high for the reward. Sparks Law Firm can also answer questions like, "What is the legal BAC limit for Texas drivers under the age of 21?"
Overall, parents should teach their children and make sure they know the law. Minors must understand the risks of underage drinking, and guardians and adults are the ones responsible for making them see them.
If adults and responsible guardians or parents fail to abide by the law, they'll face legal penalties. They can range from fines to having to spend time in jail and getting a driver's license suspension.