By: Logene Foster
Parents, students in high school and college should be aware of the law on Minor in Possession of Alcohol as it carries some serious consequences. Minor in Possession of Alcohol is being illegally in possession, ownership or control of an alcoholic beverage. This involves “constructive possession” Constructive possession may exist:
- A minor sits at a table with several people who are drinking from a pitcher of beer.
- A minor gathers empty beer cans and cups to discard.
- A minor holds a friends beer as the friend puts on his jacket.
- A minor uses a beer can as a spittoon for tobacco juice.
This law covers all individuals under 21 years of age. It further provides for a fine of not more than $500.00, community service for not less than 20 hours or more than 40 hours. In addition if convicted can be a suspension of drivers license for 30 days. If the minor has 2 or more prior convictions for this same offense then the punishment is a fine of not less than $250.00 or more than $2000.00 and/or confinement in jail not to exceed 6 months. If there is one prior conviction community service is not less than 20 hours or more than 40 hours. The suspension of drivers license is for 60 days if one prior conviction or if 2 prior convictions the Drivers License suspension can be for 6 months. A conviction or even a charge for MIP can cause a student to loose a scholarship he already has or cause a scholarship offer to be withdrawn. A student can also lose the ability to play a sport even if they have been previously offered a spot on the team. Grant money could possibly be taken away from a student who is convicted of MIP.
In Texas it seems to be very complicated as to what happens to a child when they turn 17. In the eyes of the criminal courts they are treated as an adult and prosecuted as an adult. In the Family court they are still under the courts control as a child until they turn 18. The big problem comes when a child turns 17 and leaves on parents house, against that parents will, and goes to live with the other parent or some other adult, maybe even an adult boyfriend or girlfriend. The police typically will not get involved and will tell you it is a civil matter. I have although experienced that some agencies will actually go to the house where the 17 year old is and threaten to take them to juvenile detention if they do not go back. I have not seen too many District Attorney’s here in the Sugar Land, Fort Bend County Texas area excited to file a runaway charge on a 17 year old. When they go to the other parents house it creates two problems. The first problem is dealing with the police and the issue of possibly harboring a runaway. I think it is very difficult argument to make that you should turn your own child out in the street. The second problem is the possible ramifications in the family court. The court order, if one is in place, still controlls till the child turn 18. The court can summons the child to court to talk to them, and I suppose even charge them with contempt of court if they refuse to follow the court order. The parent could be held in contempt if they are encouraging the child to come and stay. I think the parents job is to encourage the child to go back to the other parent and make the child available to the other parent to allow them to convice the child to come back. This is all in theory and with a 17 year old it is nearly impossible to get them back if they are set on not going back and are not willing to follow the parents instructions, which is an issue for a whole other blog. When the child goes to stay with some other adult, such as a friends parent or with an adult boyfriend that is where the adult could be setting themselves up for possible criminal penalties. I have not had any cases where the police or the district attorney’s office have actually pursued an adult who offered shelter to a 17 year old. The best thing the adult can do is make the child available to the police or the parent to attempt to get them to go back. If they try to hide them or refuse access then that tends to get the authorities wanting to flex some power. Let me know what you think or what your experiences have been from the parent side, the child side, the adult who takes one in, the police side or attorney’s who have had experience with it.
The issue of free speech has now come to the younger generation not through a protest but through their facebook “like” button. The court has come down that it is not speech. However, the issue is probably still far from decided. Facebook says the “like” button is the equivalent of today’s yard sign. This is probably true, as if a young person today wants to support a political candidate or a resturaunt for that matter they will go to the facebook page and “like” it. The question still is whether the language is protected to keep you from being fired. If the employee had been outside going from house to house with signs supporting their employers competition should they have been fired. If this were in Texas, and a private employer, I think the answer would clearly be yes. They can be fired. If you want to support you employers competition, why should you not just go work for them. Why should your employer keep someone who does not believe in them. If this is free speech and should be protected, how does it differ from the comments made from the CEO of Chick-Fil-A who was only expressing his opinion through speech. I think this is an area of the law with many different issues and possible angles. It may be a while before the courts get this sorted out. None the less, we must all be cautioned when participating in social networking sites. Once you post, it becomes very public.
So tell us, do you believe the “Like” button on Facebook falls under Freedom of Speech?
Family law can be a very complicated and emotional issue that affects so many people today. With our office in Sugar Land Texas we handle these cases in Fort Bend County , Harris County, Brazoria County, Waller County and other surrounding counties. There is also lots of misinformation that about the laws in Texas that can make things even more confusing and frustrating for Husband’s and Wives going through divorce. This is why it is important that you consult a Family Law Attorney if you are considering or in the process of Divorce. When there are kids and property issue to be handled it creates so many possible options. We offer a free consultation to prospective clients so that they can get some accurate information as it relates to Divorce in Texas. Whether it is Custody issues or Property Division issues it is important to informed about your rights and what you can expect. Many people get their information from friends who have been through divorce but this information may not be accurate as it pertains to your case. If someone had a divorce that was completely agreed terms then it may be nothing like what a court can and will order. Parties should work to settle their cases as much as possible, especially when kids are involved. Results can also vary from County to County to some extent as each judge has certain things that they think are important and how it should be decided. There are many issues in Family Law which I hope to go in to more detail in future Blogs.
I just wanted to take a moment to say how proud we are of all the Athletes and especially the U.S. Olympic Athletes. It was so great to see the Gold medal moments such as Soccer, Track and Gymnastics but it was also great to see all the athletes compete. Great job by all and you should all be so proud, we are!
We are kicking off our new Blog. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our customers we have had over the years. We have been lucky to keep this firm operating for over 44 years because of our loyal clients. I also like to think this is because we have always offered top notch services for a fair fee.
We again thank you and our team is here to help you how ever we can. We still offer free consultations for those with questions.