While some think that a DUI conviction is no big deal, it can affect your entire life and future, especially if you are arrested when you are under 21. Upon conviction for an under 21 DUI charge, you can expect substantial fines and a suspension of your driver’s license, along with significantly increased car insurance premiums.
However, the greatest cause for concern is a permanent criminal record. Protect your future and discuss your case with an under 21 DUI lawyer in Rockwall today.
Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at 214-696-9253 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is DUI? How Is This Different than DWI?
The similarities between DWI and DUI can cause a reasonable degree of confusion for young clients and their family. Understanding the difference between these offenses can help you make the right decisions in your case.
Texas recognizes both DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenses. However, different statutes govern each of these crimes.
The Texas Penal Code lays out the state’s DWI laws in Chapter 49. These charges can apply to any driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above, no matter what the driver’s age may be.
Underage DUI charges affect drivers under the age of 21 only. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC) contains the statutes that govern this offense and the associated penalties. Texas law takes a zero-tolerance stance for drivers who have not yet reached the legal age for consuming alcohol. This means that having any trace of alcohol in your body qualifies you for this charge.
So, the police can charge an under 21 driver with either DWI or DUI, depending on the driver’s BAC test results. If the driver’s BAC test reflects a concentration of 0.08 or more, the police typically issue a DWI citation. Anything below that level merits a DUI charge.
For a first or second offense, the penalties for DUI include a driver’s license suspension (up to 120 days), community service (up to 60 hours), completion of a state-mandated alcohol awareness course, and a $500 fine.
For third or subsequent offenses, the potential license suspension is 180 days. These charges also carry the potential for up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Will an Under 21 DUI Conviction Negatively Affect Me in the Future?
Most likely, yes. With your entire adult life ahead of you, conviction for DUI can derail your plans for your education and your career.
Whenever you apply to a college or university, you will have to disclose your crime, or risk the school learning about it through a background check. A conviction also renders you ineligible for taking out student loans in most cases.
Whenever you apply for a job or apartment, you must also disclose your crime, or risk your potential employer or landlord discovering it through a background check.
If your career path involves any occupation that requires a professional license — such as nursing, teaching, or selling real estate — an underage DUI conviction may exclude you from holding a license.
An under 21 DUI lawyer can provide hope for overcoming these challenges. You will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have someone protecting your legal rights, but, more importantly, you can avoid making bad decisions that you will regret later in life.
Does an Under 21 DUI Charge in Rockwall Qualify for Deferred Adjudication?
Rockwall County offers several formal and informal options for deferred adjudication (i.e., a type of probation) for juvenile offenders, some of which may help someone facing under 21 DUI charges.
Your lawyer can help you determine whether you qualify for one or more of these programs, and whether deferred adjudication is the right choice in your case.
Because the Rockwall county programs require application and acceptance by the District Attorney (DA), having a lawyer to assist you through this process can protect your legal rights and ensure the accuracy and timely submission of your application for your chosen program.
If you do not qualify for a deferred adjudication program, your under 21 DUI lawyer can help you identify the best course of action.
Ideally, we can identify problems in your case and use this information to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges. However, if you must go to court to make your case, we can make the strongest possible case for your defense.
Call an Under 21 DUI Lawyer in Rockwall Today
Choose your under 21 DUI lawyer carefully, as the outcome of your case will directly influence your future.
If you or your child faces underage drunk driving charges in Rockwall, look for a lawyer who understands how the prosecution builds its cases.
Attorney Randall Isenberg, of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, has more than 30 years of experience, as a DUI attorney as well as a felony prosecutor and state district court judge. The knowledge and insight his background provides means that he will build the strongest possible case for your defense.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with an under 21 DUI lawyer in Rockwall, call our office today at 214-696-9253.