As the semester draws to a close and graduation nears, the weekends are sure to be riddled with parties in celebration of another year completed.
Students across the country will flood parties and join in on the inevitable past times of beer pong and body shots, but while you are out having the time of your life and vomiting up a rainbow of liquor, keep in mind the severity of penalties that you could face.
At this time, Texas is cracking down on under age possession and consumption of alcohol, according to the director of Student Legal and Mediation Services, Gene Roberts.
“For purposes of alcoholic consumption and possession, the law has a zero tolerance policy if you are under 21 years old,” said Roberts. “While our office handles all types of legal issues, one that we see on a regular basis is MIP (minor in possession).”
Under section 106.05 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code “possession is broadly defined” said Roberts, “[it] means not only actually being in possession of an alcoholic beverage but also being in ‘constructive’ possession, meaning if alcohol is readily accessible to a minor, you can be ticketed for possession. If you are holding a beer can for your friend, or if you are picking up cups to throw away, that can be considered possession of an alcohol.”
The penalties for a MIP include a $500.00 fine, 8-12 hours of community service, suspension of your driver’s license, attendance at an alcohol education class and loss of any financial aid earned, or to be earned, according to criminaldefenselawyer.com.
The best policy for those under 21 is to not touch anything that has or had alcohol in it and to make sure you’re in a position where no one could think you possessed an alcoholic beverage. If you receive a ticket, Roberts recommends that you immediately call Student Legal & Mediation Services.