If you are under investigation or have been arrested and charged with the crime of Selling Alcohol To a Minor, Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor, or somehow making alcohol available to a minor it is critical to find an experienced criminal lawyer to represent you and work to negotiate a dismissal of your case to protect your clean criminal record.
Receiving a criminal conviction for selling alcohol to a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor can carry with it serious financial and long-term consequences. In addition to being fined up to $4,000 by the State of Texas, a conviction for selling alcohol to a minor or furnishing alcohol to a minor can result in the loss of your employment, a tarnished reputation, and an inability to further work in an environment where you may serve alcohol to the public. You need a defense lawyer on your side in court.
What Constitutes Selling Alcohol to a Minor in Texas?
According to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Title 4: Regulatory and Penal Provisions, Chapter 106: Provisions Relating to Age, Section 106.03, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be required to prove the following elements of Selling Alcohol to a Minor beyond a reasonable doubt:
“A person commits an offense if, with criminal negligence, he sells an alcoholic beverage to a minor. A person who sells a minor an alcoholic beverage does not commit an offense if the minor falsely represents himself to be 21 years old or older by displaying an apparently valid proof of identification that contains a physical description and photograph consistent with the minor’s appearance, purports to establish that the minor is 21 years of age or older and was issued by a governmental agency. The proof of identification may include a driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety, a passport, or a military identification card.”
What Happens If You Sell Alcohol To A Minor In Texas?
At first glance, it may appear that being arrested and charged with the crime of selling alcohol to a minor or furnishing alcohol to a minor is an inconsequential crime. Under Texas law, Furnishing Alcohol To Minor defines “minor” as an individual under the age of twenty-one.
The most common scenario we find the charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor is when a bartender, convenience store clerk or server is targeted by the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) in a sting operation that leads to an arrest and criminal case. The most common situation is when a server or clerk fails to properly check the identification of a patron at the establishment.
Additionally, this crime seems to involve younger adults and college students with no prior criminal history trying to work hard to pay their way through college. It is exactly this type of first offender that must make certain that their furnishing alcohol to a minor case is managed properly to avoid jail time, a conviction and a ruined criminal record.
If you are arrested at the scene, a friend or family member will be required to post a bond to secure your release from jail. In this situation, your family has two options: research and locate a bail bondsman and pay them a fee to post your bond OR hire a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney that is bonded and provides surety for citizens of Tarrant County, Texas.
If you hire an attorney to post the bail bond, you do not waste money on a bondsman. At The Hampton Law Firm, we do not charge extra for bonding services if we have been hired for criminal defense legal services. Rather than wasting money on a bondsman to post a bond, you are able to use your money toward the hiring of an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney.
Fines & Punishment for Conviction of Selling Alcohol to Minors in Texas
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, the crime of Selling Alcohol to a Minor and Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor is designated as a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in Tarrant County jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
If you are facing charges for selling to a minor, contact an experienced criminal defense legal team. Spending a year in county jail is a serious matter! An experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer for selling alcohol to a minor charge can help you fight these serious allegations and clear your name.
Most People Charged with Selling Alcohol to a Minor Were Simply Doing Their Job
The most common scenario in which a Tarrant County citizen is arrested for Selling Alcohol to a Minor or Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor is when the citizen is working at a restaurant or bar or employed as a clerk at a gas station or convenience store and is setup by agents employed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Commonly, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will send in a young agent that may appear to be close to 21 years of age into a gas station or restaurant and attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage from an unsuspecting clerk or waiter.
Commonly, the store clerk or waiter or waitress may have assumed a previous employee had checked the customer’s identification or may have been busy with additional work and failed to request identification at the time of purchase. Usually, the arrested store clerk or waiter/waitress has no prior criminal history. Despite this, the police officers will require the clerk or waiter to spend the night in jail and face the prospect of losing their job and their reputation in the community.
For example: we represented a young man that had come over from Nepal as a college student at the University of Texas at Arlington. Upon arriving for school, he found a job as a convenience store clerk at a nearby store in Arlington, Texas. Unfortunately, his boss did an extremely poor job of training him regarding the laws of Texas and the specific requirements of what must be done when selling alcohol to someone. Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission decided to run an undercover operation with a minor informant to attempt to purchase alcohol at the store. Our client haphazardly attempted to request an identification but had difficulty reading it, so he sold the alcohol to the informant and was arrested and charged with Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor. When he met with us, he was terrified because he feared jail time, immigration consequences and ejection from college. We were able to negotiate a dismissal of the charges with the Tarrant County prosecutor based upon the fact our client was basically used by the store owner to sell alcohol to people and taking advantage of a young man trying to get an education. It is situations like this that comprise the majority of furnishing alcohol to a minor case in the North Texas area.
Legal Defenses To Furnishing Alcohol To A Minor In Texas?
After hiring the best Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor attorney in Fort Worth, you need to educate yourself on Texas criminal law and the possible defenses available to you. By learning about your possible defenses, you have the opportunity to partner with your criminal defense attorney to increase your chances of getting your criminal case dismissed.
You Are The Parent Or Guardian Of The Minor
Under Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code, Section 106.06, it is a defense to providing alcohol to a minor if you are the minor adult’s parent or guardian. In fact, you are permitted to purchase or furnish alcohol to a minor as a parent or guardian as long as the minor is within your visible presence during the time of possession or consumption of the alcohol.
If you were the parent or legal guardian of the minor, it is critical that this information be shared with your criminal defense lawyer so that it can be used to negotiate a dismissal of the criminal charges.
You Did Not Act With Criminal Negligence
What if alcohol was provided to a minor but you were not negligent in your actions? In considering negligence, you must always look at what duty did a reasonable person in the same situation have under the circumstances. If the prosecutor is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted with criminal negligence, then the furnishing alcohol to a minor case will be dismissed or you will be found not guilty at a jury trial.
An Apparently Valid Proof Of ID Was Presented
What if the minor presented you an identification card? What if the card looked official? What if a reasonable person would have believed the card to be valid?
Under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 106.03, you are innocent of furnishing alcohol to a minor if the minor falsely represented himself to be 21 years of age by providing you a proof of identification that looked valid and contained a physical description and photograph that matched the minor’s appearance. In other words, if the minor presented you a fake ID that looked legitimate, you have a valid defense that you were acting legally at the time you sold alcohol to the minor.
If you have been arrested for Selling Alcohol to a Minor or Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor, it is critical that you take the right legal steps to prevent this criminal allegation from limiting your future employment opportunities. In order to obtain the best result, you must hire a selling alcohol to a minor defense attorney who will thoroughly explain your legal rights available to you and fight to keep this charge off of your criminal record.
Call a Defense Attorney for Selling Alcohol to a Minor Charges
I am a dedicated defense lawyer that will fight aggressively to keep these charges off of your criminal record and do everything within my power to negotiate a dismissal of your Selling Alcohol to a Minor case.
As a former misdemeanor and felony prosecutor in Tarrant County, Texas, I have considerable experience working in the Courts of Tarrant County and will work to provide you as many options as possible to have your case dismissed and expunged from your criminal record.
In addition to working with Jeff Hampton, you also have the opportunity to collaborate with a team of six Former Prosecutors with a combined experienced of over 85 years in criminal law and over 550 criminal jury trials in Tarrant County and Dallas County, Texas.
Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation and an opportunity to speak to me about the facts of your case and the legal options you have under Texas law. Call Jeff Hampton at The Hampton Law Firm at 817-826-9905.