In September 2019, the legal age for smoking and purchasing tobacco and electronic cigarettes in Texas was raised from 18 years old to 21. So, if a minor under 21 is caught with a cigarette or tries to buy a pack, then he/she may face criminal penalties.
The enactment of this recent law follows the national trend of increasing the legal smoking age to 21 in all 50 states. According to several studies, increasing the legal age will help decrease the initiation rates of tobacco use.
Under this law, anyone younger than 21 years old that is caught with tobacco will face “minor in possession” charges, which are similar to alcohol possession. Minor in possession is not only punishable by a maximum fine of $100, but it also requires a violator to perform community service and attend a tobacco awareness program.
Additionally, a minor could face additional criminal charges for attempting to purchase tobacco products. For example, if you misrepresent your age by falsely claiming to be 21 or using a fake ID, then you could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $500.
If a person under 21 tampers with a government record by making a false change on a driver’s license or presenting a false government document, he/she could be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Bryan or College Station, contact The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. today at (979) 773-7028 and request a free consultation. Do not hesitate to let more than 30 years of experience fight for you.