Like other states, Texas has a “zero tolerance” policy for minors who drink and drive. Minors are prohibited from any public alcohol consumption in the state. When drinking and driving occur for anyone under the age of 21, consequences can follow. In a first-offense of drinking while driving for a minor without any serious circumstances, jail time is unlikely. However, penalties can increase when repeat offenses occur or when aggravating circumstances, such as traffic accidents, become part of the incident.
Texas Law on Underage Drinking & Driving
Basically, two ways exist for getting a DWI in Texas for anyone. These include:
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, known as “per se” offense
- Being physically or mentally impaired due to drugs and/or alcohol, known as driving without “the normal use of mental or physical faculties”
A minor over the age of 17 who is pulled over and exhibits any of the above will be guilty of a DWI offense. However, a minor of any age who has any detectable quantity of alcohol in his or her body can be slapped with a DUIA (driving under the influence of alcohol). If the minor aged 17 or above exhibits any of the above definitions as well, he or she could face multiple charges of both DUIA and DWI.
A DUIA is charged as a Class C misdemeanor that carries up to $500 in fines. It also carries a driver’s license suspension of up to 60 days, a potential 20 to 40 hours of community service, and possible alcohol education classes. If the minor is aged 17 or older, a DUIA is charged as a Class B misdemeanor carrying consequences of up to $2,000 in fines and a license suspension of up to a year. The suspension period could be reduced with the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device along with probation. Second offenses could result in 72 hours up to 180 days of jail time.
A DWI for a minor aged 17 or older carries penalties of three up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and a license suspension of 90 days to year.
Implied Consent Law
Like any other driver, a minor is obligated to undertake chemical testing when asked to do so by law enforcement after being pulled over. This falls under the “implied consent” policy which means that you have agreed to this when accepting a driver’s license offered by the state. A minor who refuses to take a chemical test will face a 180-day suspension of his or her license for a first offense. A second offense will result in a two-year license suspension.
Turn to a Trusted Local Law Firm for Help
If your son or daughter has been charged with a DUIA or DWI anywhere in Brazos County, we highly recommend that you get experienced legal help. You can get that kind of assistance from one of the most established law firms in Brazos County. At Rodriguez & Gimbert, our DWI attorneys have helped thousands of individuals and families facing various criminal consequences and are committed to helping you achieve the best possible case result.
Contact us at (979) 559-3599 to schedule a free consultation today.