Underage drinking is a problem across the country. Here in Texas, we regularly see underage DWI because teenagers are often afraid to tell their parents they are drinking, so they attempt to drive home themselves. Younger people also aren’t regularly exposed to the consequences of drunk driving. Though by no means the majority, underage DWIs account for a good portion of drunk driving accidents and deaths in Texas. Underage adults and parents of teenagers need to know the consequences of drunk driving arrests. Charges of underage DUI can have a significant impact on the rest of someone’s life. The right legal representation is crucial to mounting a good defense against any charges.
Strict Laws Against Underage DWI
Texas is what’s known as a zero-tolerance state when it comes to underage DWI. Young drivers are arrested and charged if blood alcohol levels are anything above 0.00%. Though this law has its merits when it comes to reducing dangerous underage DWI, it leaves a lot of room for error on the part of police officers conducting sobriety tests.
Underage DWI is a Class C offense in the state and carries up to a $500 fine and license suspension for up to 90 days. Underage drivers suspected of driving drunk are often temporarily imprisoned by police for processing. The biggest risk comes if there are repeat offenses. The state takes repeat DWI arrests very seriously. A second violation within 10 years, even if the first occurred when the offender was underage, could mean a full year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, license suspension can last a year.
In addition to legal consequences, underage DWI will likely impact insurance rates. Insurance companies could increase the amount you pay by up to 300% after an infraction. That will take years to normalize, costing thousands of dollars.
Find the Right Legal Defense
With so much room for error with the zero-tolerance policy, it’s important to have capable lawyers handling your case. Police officers can charge and arrest someone underage if they appear to be acting intoxicated or they think they smell alcohol on their breath. These judgements can be subjective, and with the right legal approach, they can be fought. Stephen Bowling & Associates specializes in protecting underage drivers from the lifelong consequences of DWI charges. If you feel there were any discrepancies in your case that may have resulted in unfair treatment, we can help. Contact us today.