Minors are not allowed to purchase, consume, or attempt to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages in Texas. It is illegal for a minor to falsely represent themselves as being age 21 or over in order to purchase alcohol and it is illegal for a minor to drive while intoxicated. The penalties for a DUI-, DWI-, or alcohol-related offense can be steep for minors.
But illegal drinking while under the age of 21 and the possibility of serious penalties if convicted did not stop a 19-year-old from drinking at Servo-Car el Houston just a few days before Christmas. He didn't stop with the drinking either but got into his vehicle. Shortly thereafter, tragedy ensued and he may be facing decades behind bars. One person is now dead and his life may be irrevocably changed while five others were arrested for charges related to the event.
Texas Teenager Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter
A Texas teenager was arrested after his vehicle crossed three lanes of traffic just minutes after he left a bar on December 16 and crashed into an SUV. According to surveillance video from cameras at the bar, the teenager left the bar around 10:49 pm. At approximately 10:51 pm, his vehicle swerved across three lanes of traffic killing the driver of an SUV and injuring two other persons.
The Harris County prosecuting attorney's office has stated that surveillance videos show the teenager appeared visibly intoxicated when he left the bar and cameras from inside the establishment show he had consumed three tequila shots in addition to beer and wine. Other surveillance videos show that the teenager had frequented the bar on other occasions.
The teenager, a 19-year-old, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. Conviction for a charge of intoxication manslaughter carries a possible penalty of up to 20 years in a state correctional facility and up to $10,000 in fines.
The teenage driver was released from jail on a $30,000 bond. His bond conditions require him to wear an ankle monitor that can detect the use of alcohol, and he is prohibited from driving while the charges are pending. He must also abide by a curfew from 9 pm to 5 am.
Houston Bartenders and Manager Arrested & Charged for Serving Minor Alcohol
Five bartenders have been charged with serving alcohol to an underage patron. The employees are accused of serving the teenager at least a dozen alcoholic drinks over six hours at Servi-Car el Houston. The bartenders were booked into jail and have all been released.
In addition to the four employees of the bar who were charged with serving alcohol to a minor, the manager of the bar was charged with possession of an unauthorized beverage for possessing tequila. The bar only had a liquor license to serve beer and wine.
Things to Keep in Mind When Drinking at a Bar in Texas
There are some things to keep in mind when drinking at a bar in Houston. First, you must be 21 or older -- Texas is a zero-tolerance state; it will charge you with everything it can. Second, drink responsibly -- there is no problem going out and having drinks with friends and family, but do so knowing how you are getting home safely. Third, know that the police are looking for drunk drivers and will try to manipulate any situation. And fourth, know that your DWI charge -- if charged -- is defensible with the right attorney. So, fifth, do not plead guilty but fight the charge because the stakes -- like penalties and collateral consequences -- are too high.
As for the above story, it is indeed a tragic one and the underage alleged drunk driver has a difficult road ahead of him. But he can fight the charge even with the odds stacked against him, and he should do so, though it has yet to be seen how he will plead.