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Laws Relating to Alcohol

Appendix XIII: Laws Relating to Alcohol

Revised (2013):

This summary is intended to provide general information to students of Texas A&M University. It is for reference only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Specific advice regarding an individual person or situation should be requested from an attorney. The use of alcoholic beverages by members of the Texas A&M University community is at all times subject to the alcoholic beverage laws of the State of Texas. For example, individuals must be at least 21 years old to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. Additional laws include:

I.       Provisions Relating to Age

1.   Punishment for Alcohol-Related Offense by Minor. The following penalties apply for Minor in Possession Violations (MIP) which include Attempted Purchase, Purchase, Possession, Consumption of Alcohol, and Misrepresentation of Age. ABC§106.071

Penalties for Minor in Possession (MIP)

Offense

Fine

Community Service

Loss of License

Education

Jail

1st

Up to $500

8-12 hours

30 days

Required

None

2nd

Up to $500

20-40 hours

60 days

Judges’ option

None

3rd

$250-$2000

None

180 days

Judges’ option

Up to 180 days

Deferred disposition is considered a conviction for enhancement (See Table 5 below).

Table 1

2. Expunction of Conviction of a Minor. Any person convicted of not more than one alcohol-related violation while a minor, on attaining the age of 21 years, may apply to the court to have the conviction expunged. The applicant shall be released from all disabilities resulting from the conviction, and the conviction may not be shown or made known for any purpose. ABC§106.12

3. Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor. A minor commits an offense by purchasing an alcoholic beverage; punishable by §106.071. (For penalties, see Table 1 above). ABC§106.02

4.Attempted Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor. A minor commits an offense by an act amounting to more than mere preparation to purchase an alcoholic beverage; punishable by §106.071 (For penalties, see Table 1 above). ABC§106.025

5. Sale to Minors. A person commits an offense by selling an alcoholic beverage to a minor through an act of criminal negligence. This is a Class A misdemeanor. (For penalties, see Table 5 below). ABC§106.03

6. Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor. A minor commits an offense by consuming an alcoholic beverage; punishable by §106.071. (For penalties, see Table 1 above). An order of deferred disposition under this section is considered a conviction of an offense. ABC§106.04

7. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUI). A minor commits an offense if the minor operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system. This is a Class C misdemeanor except if the minor has been previously convicted at least twice of an alcohol-related offense. Deferred disposition is considered a conviction for enhancement. A Minor is not eligible for deferred disposition on 3rd offense. (For penalties, see Table 2 and Table 5 below. See also Sections II-8, 9). ABC§106.041

Penalties for DUI by a Minor

Offense

Fine

Community Service

Loss of License

Education

Jail

Failing*

Refusing*

1st

Up to $500

20-40 hours

60 days

180 days

Required

None

2nd

Up to $500

40-60 hours

120 days

2 years

Judges’ option

None

3rd

$500-$2000

40-60 hours

180 days

2 years

Judges’ option

Up to 180 days

*Failing a breath/blood test means there was ANY detectable amount of alcohol present. Due to Implied Consent, refusing to take the breath/blood test results in higher penalties. TC§724.035

Table 2

8. Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. A minor commits an offense by possession of an alcoholic beverage; punishable by §106.071 (For penalties, see Table 1 above). Exceptions: a minor may possess an alcoholic beverage while in the course and scope of employment, or in the visible presence of an adult parent, guardian, or spouse. ABC§106.05

9. Purchase of Alcohol for a Minor; Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor. A person commits an offense by purchasing an alcoholic beverage for a minor, or by furnishing an alcoholic beverage to a minor through an act of criminal negligence. This is a Class A misdemeanor. (For penalties, see Table 5 below). ABC§106.06

10. Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor. A minor commits an offense by falsely stating or presenting any document indicating that the minor is 21 years of age or older to a person engaged in selling or serving alcoholic beverages. This is a Class C misdemeanor. (For penalties, see Table 5 below). ABC§106.07

II. Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses

1. Definition of Intoxication. "Intoxicated" is either 1) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol or other drugs into the body; or 2) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. PC§49.01

2. Public Intoxication. An individual commits an offense by appearing in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the individual may endanger the person or another. This is a Class C misdemeanor. (For adult penalties, see Table 5 below. For minor penalties, see Table 1 above). PC§49.02

3. Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle. A person commits an offense by knowingly possessing an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked. This is a Class C misdemeanor. (For penalties, see Table 5 below). PC§49.031

4. Driving While Intoxicated. A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Except as provided by Subsection (c) [relating to an open container] and Section 49.09, the offense is a class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement 72 hours. If at the time of the offense the driver had an open container of alcohol in their immediate possession, the offense is a class B misdemeanor, and the minimum term of confinement is six days. A second DWI within 5 years will cause installation of a breath test device on the vehicle to prevent operation if ethyl alcohol is detected in the operator's breath. If the driver had a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age, the DWI is a state jail felony, instead of a Class B misdemeanor. The fact that the driver is or has been entitled to use the alcohol, controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance is not a defense. Each year, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) assesses a surcharge on the driver's license of drivers who during the past 3 years were convicted of DWI. The surcharge is $1,000 per year for 3 years. A second DWI conviction costs a surcharge of $1,500 per year for 3 years. If the driver had an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more, the surcharge is $2,000 per year for 3 years. Driver licenses can be suspended for one year for DWI. Driving with a suspended license is a Class B misdemeanor with increased license suspension time. In addition, the DPS assesses a $250 surcharge on the license per year for 3 years. (For penalties, see Table 3 and Table 5 below. See also Section II-8, 9 below). PC§49.04

Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated

 

Fines

License Loss

Jail

1st Offense

Up to $2,000

90 days - 1 year

72 hours – 180 days

2nd Offense

Up to $4,000

180 days - 2 years

30 days – 1 year

3rd Offense or more

Up to $10,000

180 days - 2 years

2 – 10 years

Table 3

5. Flying or Boating While Intoxicated. A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating an aircraft or watercraft. This is a Class B misdemeanor with minimum jail term of 72 hours. (For penalties, see Table 5 below. See also Section II-9 below). PC§49.05, §49.06

6. Intoxication Assault. A person commits an offense by causing serious bodily injury to another, by accident or mistake, while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This is a 3rd Degree felony. (For penalties, see Table 5 below. See also Section II-8, 9 below). PC§49.07

7. Intoxication Manslaughter. A person commits an offense by causing the death of another, by accident or mistake, while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This is a 2nd Degree felony. (For penalties, see Table 5 below. See also Section II-8, 9 below). PC§49.08

8. Administrative License Revocation. Upon arrest for DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter, failing the breath/blood (BAC) test can result in license revocation. Revocation may not be probated and there is a $125 reinstatement fee. An appeal process is available. (For penalties, see Table 4). TC§524.022

License Revocation Penalties for Adults

Terms of Offense

Failing BAC test

Refusing BAC test

1st Offense

90 days license revocation

180 days license revocation

Previous Revocation due to: Refusal/failure of BAC test

1 year license revocation

2 year license revocation

Previous Revocation due to: DWI or Intoxication Manslaughter

1 year license revocation

2 years license revocation

Table 4

9. Consent to Taking of Specimen. A person arrested for DUI, DWI, Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter, or Boating While Intoxicated, implicitly consents to taking of breath or blood specimens. Analysis of the specimens is to determine the presence or concentration of alcohol or other drugs. The person arrested may consent to submit to the taking of any other type of specimen (For adult penalties, see Table 4. For minor penalties, see Table 2). TC§724.011

10. Consumption After Hours. Consumption of alcoholic beverages in public areas is restricted in the cities of Bryan and College Station during the hours of 2 a.m. - 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2 a.m. - 12 noon, on Sunday. "Public place" means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. This includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops. This is a Class C misdemeanor. (For penalties, see Table 5 below). An exception to this law is that mixed beverage premises license holders only may also provide mixed beverage service between the hours of 12 noon and 10 p.m. on Sunday. The mixed beverage service may be provided only in conjunction with the service of food.

III. Legal Charges and Penalties

Legal Charges

Fine and/or

Imprisonment

1st Degree Felony Punishment

Up to $10,000

5 to 99 years

2nd Degree Felony Punishment

Up to $10,000

2 to 20 years

3rd Degree Felony Punishment

Up to $10,000

2 to 10 years

Class A Misdemeanor

Up to $4,000

Up to 1 year

Class B Misdemeanor

Up to $2,000

Up to 180 days

Class C Misdemeanor

Up to $500

none

Table 5

1. Enhanced Offenses and Penalties. Previous convictions for driving, boating, or flying while intoxicated will enhance the offenses and penalties for subsequent DWI convictions. One previous conviction enhances the offense to a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum term of 30 days. Two previous convictions enhance the offense to a 3rd Degree felony. PC§49.09

2. No Defense. In a prosecution of consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, DWI, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter, the fact that the defendant is or has been entitled to use the alcohol or other substance is not a defense. PC§49.10

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