Minor in Possession of Alcohol

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522


According to the 2010 Census, 36 percent of individuals living in Allen, Texas were under the age of 21. With a burgeoning class of folks who are what the law considers “minors,” the Allen Police tend to pay particularly close attention to kids and young adults who are having a little too much fun. The offense of “Possession of Alcohol by a Minor” (also known as Minor in Possession or MIP) is a criminal charge that is the frequent product of this kind of attention.

Contrary to popular belief, a person is not just found “guilty by association.” The State of Texas is required to prove each element of this offense like they are for any other crime. This is important because there are usually a number of issues that can arise in a Minor in Possession case that will be hard for the prosecutor to handle. Being well prepared and represented by counsel can be valuable tools at your disposal. This article will hopefully give you a basic overview of a Minor in Possession charge and help you make an informed decision when hiring an attorney.


The offense of “Possession of Alcohol by a Minor” is found in the Alcoholic Beverage Code under Section 106.05. The statute reads:


(a) Except as provided in Subsection (b) of this section, a minor commits an offense if he possesses and alcoholic beverage.

(b) A minor may possess an alcoholic beverage:

  1. While in the course and scope of the minor’s employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permitee and the employment is not prohibited by this code;
  2. If the minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court; or
  3. If the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code

(c) An offense under this section is punishable as provided by Section 106.071

When you set the exceptions in subsection (b) aside, the primary definition of the offense essentially amounts to minor + alcohol + possession. As you can probably already tell, the first two elements are fairly simple to determine. The most relevant question will usually be whether or not the minor in fact “possessed” an alcoholic beverage. Obviously the definition of possession, then, is important.


The definition of possession is found in Penal Code Section 1.07(39) which defines possession as “actual care, custody, control, or management.” This means that the State does not have to prove that an alcoholic beverage was physically in a minor’s possession to prove the case. Additionally, the law provides that more than one person may actually “possess” a single alcoholic beverage at the same time.

While this definition is a broad one, the law does require some rational limitations. The state must prove more than just the fact that an individual was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being within reaching distance does not necessarily mean that a minor possessed alcohol. There must be evidence that establishes, beyond a reasonable doubt, an affirmative link between the minor and the alcoholic beverage. Depending on the circumstances, this can be very difficult.


A first offense of Possession of Alcohol by a Minor is a Class C misdemeanor. An individual found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor can be punished by a fine not to exceed $500. Additionally, there are certain conditions placed on both individuals found guilty of the offense and individuals who receive deferred adjudication. Subsequent offenses will naturally carry an even stiffer range of punishment, including the possibility of jail time.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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