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Drinking age in Texas

While most teenagers, and even some Americans, think that the drinking age has always been 21 in this country, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it was drunk driving fatalities that spurred Congress to act, and they passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984. This law stipulated that the states have to make their age of public possession and purchase of alcohol to 21 by a certain date, or lose a fraction of their highway construction funds. Most states were quick to comply with the mandate, but Wyoming and South Dakota were the last two to go. There was a lot of controversy around the law, with some contending that it skirted the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

The present drinking age in America of 21 is a point of argument amongst many Americans. The age of majority, the voting age, is 18, and it seems like the drinking age should be 18 too. Plus, the drinking age is considerably lower in other countries. Even though the issue has been set aside for awhile, there are a couple states that are thinking about lowering their drinking ages. So, for the time being, all the U.S. 50 states have the legal drinking age, age of public consumption, age of purchase, and age of possession at 21.

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, many states put their purchase ages at 21 because that was the age of majority way back then, but a few had lower limits. Most of these ages stayed the same until the 1970s. About 30 states lowered their purchase ages to around 18. The voting age was lowered to 18 in the early 1970s, and the drinking ages were lowered to comply with the voting age. Several states started to raise their drinking ages to deal with drunk driving deaths, however.

The drinking age in Texas was lowered to 18 in 1971, and it was then raised to 19 in 1979. It was further raised to 21 in 1984, and it was done to be in line with the law passed at the federal level. It remains 21 to this day.

There are special exceptions to the 21-year-old legal minimum drinking age in Texas. Minors can drink in a private home, on private property with parental consent and presence, and in a private office, all of which must require a parent to be present. They can also drink on premises where they sell alcohol with a parent present.

Title 4 Chapter 106 says that minors can drink if they’re in the presence of an adult spouse, guardian, or adult parent, but that person has to be visibly present. In other words, they need chaperoning, and they have to be in clear view of their chaperone. Interestingly, Texas doesn’t allow the consumption of alcohol by minors for religious, medical, or government work-related purposes. However, the presence of a parent or adult guardian can allow for drinking in all these circumstances. The basic issue is that minors have to be supervised when drinking in Texas.

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  1. Gustavo Rivera says:

    why do they leave it 21 not 18

  2. andrew says:

    drinking really should be over 21 not for teens …

  3. jennifer says:

    I know it says they can drink with a parent in Texas but at what age does that begin at? If I read the law correctly a 7 year old can drink in the presence of a parent then.

  4. John Stockton says:

    I think at least some of your info is incorrect. You state that “the drinking age in Texas was lowered to 18 in 1971.” I believe that was 1973.

  5. morn says:

    thank the great communicator/liar/fascist ronald wilson reagan, his administration forced the states to raise the drinking age under pressure from the insurance industry, just another president owned by special interests

  6. BA says:

    Jennifer, yes, the way I understand it, there’s no minimum age for parent-supervised drinking. The theory is that parents will know and do what’s best for their kids, so the law allows for a dad to give his 7-year-old a sip of beer without getting into trouble.

  7. Kami says:

    The legal drinking age should be lowed to 16

  8. Kami says:

    The alcohol industries would get much more business because more people would be buying alcoholic beverages. teenagers wouldn’t have to be so secretive if it would if it was legal.there are many pros and cons. but the legal drinking age should be lowered to 16. many teenagers do it anyway so you may as well make it legal

  9. Jenni says:

    But although it’s legal for a minor to drink in the presence of a parent not many places will allow it..
    Where I work we don’t allow minors to consume alcohol even if the parent allows it..

  10. Alex Carrasco says:

    I agree with kami

  11. Kirk says:

    Consider this…..A person drinking at any age above getting their driving license decides to drive away from a bar and drives into a vehicle that your mother, father, and siblings are in. NOBODY lives and you have to bury your whole family members because of this.

  12. Kali says:

    Lower it to 16?? That is just irresponsible… drinking impairs judgement. Most adults are not even responsible enough to drink. What makes people think that a 16 year old would be?

  13. Kurt says:

    Only in Texas is it legal to give childeren booz. Anywhere else this is called child endangerment. Texas, what a joke! And I live here.

  14. Chuck says:

    If your government can put a gun in your hand and send you to die in a foreign land you should be able to buy and drink a beer, man.

  15. Bill says:

    The drinking age went from 18 to 19 in 1982. My girlfriend at the time turned 18 in 1981, and the law changed a month or two before she turned 19. She was grandfathered in.

  16. Seth says:

    If I can go to battle and die for this country at 18 I should be able to have a beer.

  17. John says:

    We should lower it to 16 for beer and cider and 18 for liquors like most of Europe. It’s not like the law stops teens from drinking anyways.

  18. Cynthia says:

    in 1979 I turned 18 and could legally drink in Texas. My brother was to turn 19 in 1983 and he was upset that before he could do that, it changed to 21. I was able to legally drink from 1979 on, he could not legally drink until 1985. He is nearly 2.5 years younger than me.

  19. Shelley says:

    The drinking age was raised from 18 to 19 in 1981, not in 1979.

  20. Kellie says:

    Your years are incorrect. The timeline is as follows: 1973 lowered to 18, 1981 raised to 19, 1986 raised to 21. To be honest I wouldn’t mind if they raised the drinking age to 25. There are still far too many drunk driving arrests and accidents, especially fatal accidents. Texas should also add the three strike rule to the law books.

  21. Kellie says:

    I have to assume that the people commenting that the drinking age should be lowered to 16 and 18 are teenagers. I can’t imagine an adult would agree with that, especially not a responsible adult.

  22. Chris says:

    The drinking age in most Europen countries is whatever age you are able to pour the wine into a glass and raise it to your lips unassisted.


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