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When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, many states put their purchase ages at 21 because that was the age of majority way back then, but a few had lower limits.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.