On Saturday, January 26, the Johnson City Police Department busted a teen alcohol party. Officers issued eleven Minor in Possession/Consumption of Alcohol citations.
According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages, as well as minors who are intoxicated in public or misrepresent their age to obtain alcoholic beverages, face the following consequences:
• Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
• Alcohol awareness class
• 8 to 40 hours community service
• 30 to 180 days loss or denial of driver's license
If a minor is seventeen years of age or older and the violation is the third offense, the offense is punishable by a fine of $250 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days or both, as well as automatic driver's license suspension.
A minor with previous alcohol-related convictions will have his or her driver's license suspended for one year if the minor does not attend alcohol awareness training that has been required by the judge.
JCPD has been investigating with assistance from TABC officer Scott Helpenstell and will be submitting charges to the County Attorney’s office for the multiple adults that provided and/or purchased the alcohol for the teen drinkers. The punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for up to a year, or both.
Chief of Police Randy Holland stated, “Parents are upset with the police department. That is to be expected, but if this party was not broken up and an accident occurred, then they would want to know what the Police Department was doing to prevent such incidents.” Parents and/or adults who continue to provide the alcohol for such parties need to understand the tragic results that can occur.
There are also allegations of sexual assault from a minor female that occurred at the party. The JCPD is currently investigating this and will turn over its findings to the county attorney.
Chief Holland is working on a forum for the public that will answer all questions regarding punishment, laws, rights, and consequences of teen drinking and providing alcohol to minors. Look for future announcements on this subject.