Denton, TX Underage Drinking Attorney
Defending Young Defendants against Underage Drinking Charges
The legal age to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol in Texas – and every other state – is 21 years old. Despite this clear and strict law, many young people, especially college students, fail to take the legal age seriously. Underage drinking occurs every day in and around Denton, and many young people end up arrested as a result.
While students may not think an underage drinking arrest is a serious matter, it can result in criminal charges and a possible conviction on your permanent criminal record. If you or your child faces such allegations in Denton, Texas, contact underage drinking defense lawyer Brent D. Bowen as soon as possible.
Underage Drinking Charges and Penalties
Underage drinking, possession, purchase, or an attempt to purchase alcohol can result in a minor in possession charge, commonly called an MIP. If officers suspect you of an MIP offense, they can arrest you, and you might face Class C misdemeanor charges. If you are convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, you could face the following consequences:
- $500 fines
- Attendance at an alcohol awareness class
- 40 hours of community service
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 180 days
Under certain circumstances, the possible penalties might increase to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000.
To make matters worse, MIP charges are often accompanied by other charges related to underage drinking, such as using false identification to purchase alcohol or driving under the influence (DUI). Texas has a Zero Tolerance law that prohibits minors under 21 from driving with any discernible amount of alcohol in their systems. This means that even if they just had half of a drink, they could register a blood alcohol content (BAC) and get charged with underage DUI.
Additional Effects of Underage Drinking Convictions
While a criminal case and court-imposed sentence are frightening enough, there are many other additional effects of an underage drinking conviction. For example, college athletic programs often have a zero-tolerance policy regarding underage drinking. If an athlete is arrested and convicted of MIP, they may lose their place on a sports team, which means they might lose any associated athletic scholarships. In addition, they may have to explain their conviction in the future if they apply for higher educational programs, professional licenses, or even when they apply for jobs.
A criminal conviction can have many lasting effects for young people, so it is important to have a strong criminal defense and prevent convictions whenever possible. Your first call after an arrest should be to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who regularly represents juveniles and college students.
Contact a Denton Underage Drinking Lawyer for Help Today
At the law office of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, we take underage drinking cases seriously – and so should you. Please do not wait to call the office at 940-222-2488 or contact us online to learn about how we can protect your rights and your future.