Can minors drink in Texas? Yes, but…
Can minors drink in Texas?
The short answer is “Yes,” but there are rules to it. A lot of people don’t know about this Texas alcohol law, but it’s there and it’s true. A minor can drink alcohol with a consenting adult family member under supervision. Texas is just one out of several states that allow this.
What counts as a legal consenting adult?
Texas identifies a legal consenting adult as a family member age 18 years or older. This person can be the minor’s adult parent, guardian or spouse who is visibly present when the minor has an alcoholic beverage. Even though these adults can provide minors with alcohol, they cannot make it available to them.
What’s the difference between providing alcohol and making it available?
Providing alcohol simply means that an adult literally hands the minor the alcoholic beverage. But making it available means that alcohol is out in the open where the minor has consent to have some whenever they want. Making alcohol available to minors is illegal and it’s punishable by a fine up to $4,000, jail time for up to a year or both. Upon conviction, violators will also have their driver’s license suspended for 180 days.
What are the risks of letting a minor drink in Texas?
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), Texas holds parents/adults civilly liable for damages caused by the intoxication of a minor younger than 18 if they knowingly provided alcohol or allowed alcohol to be served on property owned or leased by them and:
- the minor is injured or dies as a result of drinking on the property.
- the underage person gets into a fight, falls and hurts him/herself or is sexually assaulted.
- the minor attending the party damages someone else’s property.
- the underage person who is drinking on the property, leaves and is involved in a motor vehicle accident and causes injury to themselves or others.
Additionally, parents are responsible for the safety of minors under 18 years old whenever he/she is on their property or on a property leased by them and under their care, custody and control.
What are the Texas alcohol laws for minors?
According to TABC, if minors under 21 years old:
- possess or consume an alcoholic beverage
- buy or attempts to buy alcohol
- lie about their age to get alcohol
- operate a vehicle with any trace amount of alcohol in their system
then, they can receive:
- a fine up to $500
- required attendance at an alcohol awareness class
- between 8 and 40 hours of community service
- between 30 and 180 days loss or denial of their drivers licenses
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Want to learn more about Texas drinking laws?
Take our TABC Certification course!