In the state of Texas, the legal age for drinking alcohol is 21. Those under the legal drinking age are considered minors. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the state has what it calls a “zero tolerance” policy for drinking and driving by a minor.
So when law enforcement stops someone under the age of 21 who is driving with any level of alcohol in his or her system, a charge of drinking and driving is possible. There is no BAC threshold for this Zero Tolerance law under the Texas Penal Code §49.
Because of the severity of this charge, you may want to speak with an under 21 DUI lawyer in Carrollton to learn about the best options for your defense. At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we will work on your behalf to defend you against this charge and to negotiate with prosecutors. Call us today at (214) 696-9253 for a free consultation.
Texas Underage DUI Laws
Drivers 21 years of age or older in the state of Texas must have a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or higher to be considered intoxicated under law. A drunk driver who is of legal age then could be charged with DWI (or driving while intoxicated).
However, when a minor is involved in a drinking and driving situation, a charge of DUI (or driving under the influence) is possible when there is any measurable level of alcohol in the driver’s system. Texas laws allow for a charge of DUI with operation of either a car or watercraft.
Penalties for DUI
If the minor driver is charged with DUI as a first offense, it is considered a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law. The potential penalties for a DUI offense for an underage driver include:
- Fine of $500
- Community service time of between 20 and 40 hours
- Completion of an alcohol awareness class
- Suspension of the driver’s license for 60 days
Other penalties can be applied, depending on the circumstances in the case. For example, if a motor vehicle accident occurred, the charge and penalties could be more serious. Or if the driver has been charged with DUI or DWI previously, the penalties become harsher.
Crafting a Strategy
With a trusted under 21 DUI lawyer in Carrollton on your side, your rights will be protected. Prosecutors are building a case against you based on the evidence. Hiring the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg as soon as possible will allow us to counteract the work prosecutors are doing.
We will negotiate with prosecutors to try to have your charge reduced or dismissed. In some cases, prosecutors may be willing to let the minor enter deferred adjudication. This is a form of probation, which allows the driver to avoid the most serious penalties in exchange for completing a list of mandatory steps. Call us today at (214) 696-9253 to discuss all of the possibilities in your case.
Role of Law Enforcement
If an underage driver is stopped in the state of Texas, and a police officer suspects drinking, he or she can ask the driver to perform a variety of sobriety tests.
If the police officer suspects any level of alcohol, the officer has the ability to take a variety of actions, including:
- Arresting the driver
- Having the vehicle towed
- Taking the driver to jail, where a breath test can be performed
- Taking the driver to a hospital, where a blood test can be performed
Reach out to our firm is these actions occurred against your child.
Understanding the DUI Charge
Additionally, if the minor who is drinking and driving has a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, he or she could be charged with a DWI. Cases like this can be difficult to categorize and understand. An under 21 DUI lawyer in Carrollton will be able to explain exactly what you are facing with this charge.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253. Should you hire our law team, we will analyze your case. We will work tirelessly to represent your interests in court and when meeting with law enforcement.
Randy Isenberg spent more than 30 years as a prosecutor and state district judge before starting his practice. He understands how prosecutors normally handle cases like this, which is an advantage he can use when crafting the best possible defense for your situation.