You know it’s illegal for someone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol and drink and drive, but is that it or are there other underage drinking laws that minors should be aware of? In Texas, there are various underage drinking laws and they go beyond driving while intoxicated and purchasing alcohol.
Whether you’re under 21 or the parent or legal guardian of a teenager in the Lone Star State, this is what you need to know. It is illegal for a minor (someone under 21) to do the following in Texas:
- Purchase alcohol
- Try to purchase alcohol
- Possess alcohol
- Consume alcohol
- Be intoxicated in public
- Lie about their age to obtain alcoholic beverages
If a minor does any of the above in Texas, he or she is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by: 1) a fine up to $500, 2) between 8 and 40 hours of community service, a 30 to 180-day driver license suspension or license denial, and 3) an alcohol awareness class.
If the minor is age seventeen or older and it’s his or her third alcohol violation, the penalties are much harsher. On a third offense, the minor will be fined up to $2,000, their driver’s license will be automatically suspended, and they may be confined in jail for up to six months.
If a minor has been convicted of an alcohol-related offense before, and he or she fails to take the alcohol awareness course that has been imposed by a judge, his or her driver license will be suspended for one year.
Underage DWI in Texas
Under Texas’ zero tolerance law, it’s illegal for a driver under the age of 21 to drive a motor vehicle on a public road with any alcohol in their system. A first-time underage DWI is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, up to 40 hours of community service, a 60-day driver license suspension, and by attendance in an alcohol awareness program. The penalties are stiffer for a second and third underage DWI.
Related: Can I Get Fired for DWI?