Legal Question in Criminal Law in Texas

selling alcohol to a minor

TABC and an APD officer came into my bar the other night, and gave the bar an administrative ticket, and told me that a warrent was going to be issued for me in the next week for serving a minor. I think they were doing a sting. The bar was not busy, and I don't remember serving anyone without a 21 and up wristband on. It was at least 20 to 30 min. since I had served anyone when they came in to write the ticket. It was a complete shock to me and all the employees. They wouldn't tell us who it was, and we couldn't talk to the witness, because they were already long gone. The owner is fighting the administrative ticket, and said that I should fight mine. Everyone else I talk to is telling me to fight it. I haven't talked to a lawyer yet. I wanted to see what info I could find on it first. What do you think I should do, and what info can you give me on my situation?

Asked on 2/10/04, 9:10 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Kathy Lowthorp Law Office of Kathy A. Lowthorp
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Re: selling alcohol to a minor

APD. Is this Austin or Arlington? Looks like Austin by the zip code. If Arlington, send phone number and I will contact you.

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2/12/04, 1:06 pm
John Armstrong The Law Office of John W. Armstrong
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Re: selling alcohol to a minor

You need to make an appointment with a criminal defense attorney in your area, and let him read the offense report in the State's file, and see what kind of case the State has against you. Just because the TABC wrote you a ticket does not mean they can win the case, but none of us can tell you very much about your case without determining what evidence the prosecutor has in their file. I am presuming you are in the Austin area. If this is the case, call Keith Hampton or Stuart Kinard and tell them I told you to call. Good Luck!

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2/10/04, 10:22 pm
Barrett McKinney Law Offices of Barrett J. McKinney, P.C.
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Re: selling alcohol to a minor

Sale of Alcohol to a minor is a Class A Misd. with a punishment range from 0 to 1 year in jail and a fine of $0 - 4000.

The statute reads:

Sec. 106.03. SALE TO MINORS

(a) A person commits an offense if with criminal negligence he sells an alcoholic beverage to a minor.

(b) 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 Texas driver's license or an identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, containing a physical description consistent with his appearance for the purpose of inducing the person to sell him an alcoholic beverage.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

As you can see this offense carries a penalty which seems somewhat excessive for the offense.

If you decide to fight the charges a good place to start is at the TABC website which has guidlines for police agencies to follow when doing these types of stings. http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/enforce/Minor1.htm

Since this case is being filed at large you likley will not have advanced notice of when the warrant will issue, since the case is sealed before the information is issued.

An attorney who practices in Travis County may be able to find out when the warrant will issue or have a summons issued instead.

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2/10/04, 10:25 pm

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