Underage DWI or DUI in Texas
When examining Texas DWI law, any individual under the age of 21 is recognized by the state as a minor. Because they are under the legal drinking age, minors are held to higher standards and in some ways stricter consequences for violations of Texas DWI laws.
Similar to adults, Austin has a zero-tolerance policy for minors driving while intoxicated. While the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level for an adult driver is .08, it is illegal for a minor to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system. What this means is that any traceable amount of alcohol in a minor driver is cause for an arrest for driving under the influence (Texas DUI). If it is determined that a minor has a BAC of .08 or above the minor can be charged with the same Texas DWI charge that an adult faces; leading to the same consequences.
If you or your child has been arrested for underage DWI or DUI, contact the team at Stephen T. Bowling, Austin DWI Attorneys today for a free case evaluation: (512) 599-9000.
PENALTIES FOR UNDERAGE DWI OR DUI IN TEXAS
Minors arrested and charged for driving under the influence (DUI) for the first time in Texas will be faced with legal consequences including:
- Up to one year of license suspension
- A maximum fine of $500, other court costs and fines may apply
- At least 20 hours community service
- At least 12 hours of alcohol education program
Minors arrested and charged for driving under the influence with two prior convictions will be faced with legal consequences including:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- A license suspension
- A fine between $500 and $2,000, along with other court costs and fines
- At least 40 hours community service
Depending on the Blood Alcohol Content level detected at the time of the arrest, the age of the defendant, and any previous convictions for underage DWI, the penalties for underage DWI may increase. This is why it is so important to have an Austin DWI attorney on your side.
PROTECT YOUR FUTURE WITH STEPHEN T BOWLING, AUSTIN DWI ATTORNEYS
For minors in the state of Texas, the penalties for underage DWI are not just legal. The implied consequences of a conviction on a minor’s record can have negative impacts on his or her educational pursuits, career goals, and personal relationships. Furthermore, car insurance premiums are likely to rise for the driver after an arrest or conviction.
Protect yourself or your child from the present and future impacts of an underage DWI conviction by contacting Stephen T. Bowling, Austin DWI Attorneys. We will work together to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome of your case.
If you have been arrested…
Your FREEDOM is potentially at stake. A conviction can have a huge impact on your job, relationships, and your future. You need to act fast.
Don’t wait to get trusted counsel. Reach out to the Austin DWI Lawyers today at (512) 599-9000 to set up a free consultation.
Proven Defense by a Former Law Enforcement Officer
Many people who are charged with an Austin DWI just assume there is no way to fight it. They think the best they can hope for is a smaller fine or a reduction in the amount of time they lose their license. We focus on defending anyone accused of a DWI. With the right legal counsel, there are other outcomes. Depending on the facts of the case, what if…
- Instead of months of suspension, you don’t lose your license at all?
- Instead of making a deal for probation, you never get convicted?
- Instead of having a DWI conviction, your record stays clean?
- Instead of cutting bad deals, you get a vigorous DWI defense?
While every case depends on the facts and circumstances at play, mounting an aggressive defense to DWI charges may be your best option. The Austin Criminal Defense attorneys at Stephen T Bowling, P.C., handle all drunk driving cases, defending clients in both the criminal proceedings and driver’s license hearings.
Don’t trust just anyone with your DWI defense. Contact the law firm of Stephen T Bowling, PC, by e-mail or call us at 512-599-9000 to schedule your free consultation with an Austin DWI lawyer to discover some strategies we pursue in defending Austin Driving While Intoxicated cases.
We offer payment plans and accept major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
In the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Texas defines a minor as anyone under the age of 21. The state has zero-tolerance for minors drinking alcohol, let alone a possible underage DWI/DUI. A minor driving even with a minimal amount of alcohol detectable constitutes Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor, also called a DUI.
What is the difference between a DWI and a DUI?
The acronym DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. DUI is an abbreviation for Driving Under the Influence. In some states, the two offenses are almost interchangeable and treated as such. Not so in Texas.
In Texas, the charge of a DUI by a Minor is considered a Class C misdemeanor. For an adult, the legal limit of alcohol within the blood system is 0.08%. Anything above that and an adult can be charged with a DWI.
A minor can be charged with a DWI, according to the Department of Public Safety. This is applied if the minor is considered intoxicated. While occasionally this charge can be downgraded to a DUI, it is a more serious offense and considered a Class B misdemeanor. The consequences will be more severe.
If stopped by a police officer
When a minor is pulled over by a law enforcement officer, they should find a safe place to stop. Their interaction with the officer should be polite and respectful. Answer the officer’s general questions. You are required to give your name and show your driver’s license, car registration, and proof of insurance. You should not say anything that could be incriminating, and you should not lie.
The officer may ask you to perform a sobriety test. For a minor, this comes with “implied consent,” as dictated by Texas law. Refusal could cause a driver’s license suspension. The same applies to a portable breathalyzer test.
What to do immediately if facing a possible DWI/DUI
If a minor or an adult is cited or arrested for a DUI or DWI, the first thing you should do is call a defense attorney familiar with such offenses and traffic laws. Set up an appointment and bring all documentation with you.
Your attorney may suggest that a court hearing be set up, especially if there is a question whether the officer had reasonable cause for the traffic stop. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable lawyer and someone you trust.
What are the penalties for an underage DUI or DWI?
Penalties for an underage DUI or DWI can vary depending upon the degree of alcohol in the system and whether this is the first offense, or you already have one offense or more.
First-time DUI offenders
For a first-time DUI offense, you will be looking at a $500 fine, community service of up to 40 hours, an alcohol awareness course, and possible suspension of your driver’s license for up to 60 days.
If you are under 18, a parent or guardian will be required to attend the alcohol awareness classes with you. If you are not licensed, the suspension may subsequently apply when you obtain a legal license.
Second, and additional offenses
The consequences go up from there. As a second offender, you may have your license suspended for 120 days, and for a subsequent offense that may increase to a 180-day suspension. Fines may increase up to $2,000, and there is also a possibility for jail time.
The penalties for a DWI are much more severe with longer license suspensions, larger fines, and possible prison time. As a minor charged with a DWI, you may be fined $2,000 for a first offense.
You may also lose your license for up to a year. This could be significantly reduced if the court considers community supervision with an ignition interlock device.
There may be jail time up to six months. The time is lengthened if an open alcohol container is found in the vehicle.
A second DWI offense is a Class A misdemeanor. As such, the fine is higher, up to $4,000. Your driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years, and jail time may be somewhere between 180 days up to two years.
Any third or subsequent DWI conviction is rated as a third-degree felony. Jail or prison time increases for up to 10 years. The fine may increase up to $10,000, and your driver’s license could be revoked for up to two years.
In defense of an under-age driver facing a DUI/DWI
Being arrested for a DUI or DWI while under the age of 21 can be a harrowing experience. Whenever possible, every effort should be made to get the charges deferred, reduced, or dismissed altogether. It is also important an attempt be made to expunge the charges from your record.
It is imperative to find an attorney that will work toward those goals. Whether you are a college student, high school student, or the parents of a minor charged with a DUI or DWI, contact the DWI and criminal defense attorneys at the offices of Stephen Bowling.
This could mean the choice between a conviction landing on your record, or your independence and freedom. The top-rated defense attorneys at Stephen Bowling are ready to fight for you. If you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI, don’t hesitate. Give us a call today!
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