When a young person gets caught driving under the influence in Grand Prairie, she will face under 21 DUI charges. A conviction will mean a large fine and a lengthy driver’s license suspension, as well as court costs and fees. However, the most damaging aspect of an underage drunk driving conviction is the permanent criminal record that comes with it.
A criminal record can prevent you from getting student loans, and many good universities and trade schools will not admit a student who has a record. If you are accepted and graduate, a record can limit your options for getting a job, holding a professional license or even renting an apartment.
An under 21 DUI lawyer in Grand Prairie can help you fight these serious charges. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at 214-696-9253, to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
How Serious Is an Under 21 DUI Conviction?
Although less serious than an underage DWI conviction, an under 21 DUI poses severe consequences for a young driver.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC) prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages by anyone below the age of 21. Consequently, underage drivers caught with any measurable alcohol in their bloodstream will face DUI charges.
For your first or second underage DUI offense, you will face a fine of $500, up to 60 hours of community service, mandatory attendance at an alcohol education program, and a 60- to 120-day suspension of your driver’s license.
Upon a third conviction, you will face a fine of $2,000, a six-month driver’s license suspension, community service, alcohol education program, and up to six months behind bars.
How Can an Under 21 DUI Lawyer Help You Fight Drunk Driving Charges?
Any conviction on this charge also comes with a permanent criminal record. Having a DUI on your record can interfere with your ability to go to school, get a job, or buy car insurance you can afford.
It can derail your life before it has really even started.
Talking to an under 21 DUI lawyer can help you understand more clearly how a conviction will harm your life. A lawyer can also help you explore your options, so you and your family can make informed choices about your case.
Your lawyer will protect your legal rights, and ensure that the police and prosecutor followed all governing laws and regulations with regard to making a traffic stop and administering chemical testing.
After conducting a thorough analysis of the evidence in your case, your lawyer will identify potential problems, weaknesses, and violations of your rights. Your attorney can use this information to potentially negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge, or to drop the charges completely.
If the prosecutor refuses to negotiate, your underage DUI lawyer can explain your alternatives. You may have the option of participating in a deferred disposition or teen court program. Barring any of those options, your lawyer can build the strongest possible case to defend you in court.
Does Grand Prairie Offer Under 21 DUI Deferral or Diversion Programs?
Some underage drivers facing DUI charges in Grand Prairie will have the option of applying for a deferred disposition or diversion program.
The availability and terms of these programs vary based on your history and the facts of your case. Your attorney can advise you of any options you have for deferral or diversion. If you qualify and you choose to apply, your lawyer can assist you with the application process and represent you in court.
The Dallas County Juvenile Department offers some diversion program options designed to help young offenders obtain treatment rather than punishment for their offense.
Similar to probation, these programs impose treatment requirements specific to your charges. You must go to court and enter a guilty or no-contest plea. The judge will determine your requirements and establish a deadline by which you must complete the requirements.
If you complete the program within the specified time, the court will drop the charges. However, if you do not complete the requirements set forth by the court, the judge will sentence you in accordance with the statutes.
Deferred Prosecution Programs
Dallas County offers some deferred prosecution programs for underage offenders. These programs provide first-time offenders with an option to defer prosecution in exchange for completing program requirements.
If the court accepts your application for a program, the judge will impose requirements that may include community service, completion of alcohol education courses, and payment of fines, court costs, and program fees.
Upon completion of the program’s requirements, you can petition the court to drop the charges and expunge or seal the records associated with your arrest.
If you fail to complete the necessary steps, however, the court will move forward with prosecution.
If you live in Tarrant or Ellis counties, we can determine whether you might be eligible for any diversion or deferred prosecution programs in those areas.
What Is the Difference Between Under 21 DUI Charges and Underage DWI?
The maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) for underage DUI charges is 0.079. If a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine) records your BAC at 0.08 or above, you will face adult DWI charges — even if you are not 21.
You can find the laws and penalties that apply to underage DWI charges in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code.
If the police charge you with DWI rather than DUI, your lawyer can try to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction in charges, as the penalties for an under 21 DUI are less harsh than those for an underage DWI.
Schedule a No-Cost Consultation with an Under 21 DUI Lawyer in Grand Prairie Today
If you or your child faces under 21 DUI charges, consider talking with a lawyer before you decide on a course of action.
Although the police and prosecutor may try to convince you that a guilty plea is the easiest way to resolve your problem, that is likely not the case. Whatever the punishment may be, a guilty plea is no different than a conviction, in that it comes with a permanent record.
Do not risk ruining your future with one mistake. With more than three decades of experience, Attorney Randall Isenberg can explain all your options and help you choose the one that is best for you and your family.
We would like to offer you a complimentary consultation to discuss your case. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at 214-696-9253 to get started.