In Texas and all states throughout the country, anyone under 21 years old is prohibited from consuming, possessing, or purchasing alcohol. However, since underage drinking is prevalent among high school and college students, drunk driving is one of the most common causes of serious and fatal car accidents involving teenagers and young adults.
That is why every state has special “zero tolerance” laws that apply to intoxicated, underage drivers. According to Texas law, underage drivers with “any detectable amount of alcohol” in their system can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA).
If an underage driver is under 17 years old, a DUIA is a Class C misdemeanor. A first offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $500, driver’s license suspension for at least 60 days, up to 40 hours of community service, and enrollment in an alcohol awareness course.
If an underage driver is between 17 and 20 years of age, a DUIA is a Class B misdemeanor. A first offense carries a maximum jail sentence of 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000, driver’s license suspension for at least one year (or 90 days if the defendant agrees to community service and ignition interlock device (IID) installation.
On the other hand, if an underage driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is a minimum of .08 percent at the time of the arrest, he/she will be charged with a standard DWI in Texas. A first offense is punishable by a maximum jail term of six months, a fine of up to $2,000, and driver’s license suspension for 12 months.
Under Texas’ implied consent laws, if an underage driver refuses to take a post-arrest chemical test, he/she will be placed in jail and held there until bond is posted or until he/she appears before a Juvenile Court judge or magistrate. In addition, his/her driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI in Dallas, call Peter Barrett at (214) 307-8667 or fill out an online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation. Attorney Barrett has handled thousands of cases in more than 25 years!