Texas Tech Alcohol Charges Students Face


Stephen Hamilton discusses the Texas Tech alcohol charges students face if arrested on- or off-campus.

It’s no secret—college students and drinking go together. And underage drinking is common on college campuses and in dormitories across the country. Texas Tech’s Code of Conduct states misconduct involves

a) [the] “use, possession, sale, delivery, manufacture or distribution of alcoholic beverages, except in accordance with federal, state, local law, and/or Texas Tech University policy,”

b) “being under the influence of alcohol and/or intoxication as defined by federal, state, local law and/or Texas Tech University policy.”

Note that “under the influence of alcohol” is not the same thing as being drunk. It means you ingested some alcohol, even if only a sip. In the state of Texas, if you’re under 21 and you had anything alcoholic to drink at all, you violated the Student Code of Conduct AND broke the law.

One grave mistake students make is to assume the penalty for consumption of alcohol on campus isn’t serious, particularly if you’re a minor. Wrong! At the very least, if you’re caught with alcohol in a dorm, for example, your on-campus housing can be revoked.

That’s no laughing matter.

MIC and MIP are both Class C misdemeanors for minors, meaning they’re criminal charges. If you’re underage and sip a little beer, you’ve committed MIC. If you’re underage and are caught with a beer, including in a vehicle, you committed MIP.
Does being at a place where beer is available mean that you are guilty of possession? No. Possession means you have control over the thing you possess AND that you are aware that you possess it. If you don’t know it’s an alcoholic beverage, you’re not by definition guilty of possession.

When you don’t know there’s a beer in the fridge in your dorm room, you’re not by definition guilty of possessing it and cannot receive a Texas Tech alcohol charge. The point is, you should never confess to possession. You may not be guilty. Instead, just remain silent until you have an opportunity to discuss the details of your situation with a licensed attorney.

If you’re a Texas Tech Student and have been charged with any offense including alcohol charges in Texas or on Texas Tech campus, download a copy of my book, What Every Texas Tech Student Should Know if they Get in Trouble With the Law and call my office at 806-444-4444 so we can begin to help develop a defense specific to your case.