In Texas, driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor (DUI) is a charge reserved for intoxicated drivers under the age of 21. A first offense DUI penalty for a minor is a class C misdemeanor charge, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS).
The penalties for a first offense DUI conviction may include:
- Fines: up to $500
- Community service: 20 to 40 hours
- Driver license suspension: 60 to 180 days
- Required attendance of an alcohol awareness course
In addition to the penalties listed above, a first offense DUI may appear on your record and impact academic standing or your future employment opportunities. Because the penalties for DUI increase with each conviction, a first offense DUI can also put you at risk of harsher consequences if you get charged with this crime a second time.
If you are facing first offense DUI charges, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to help defend you and work to have your charges dismissed or your penalties reduced.
Circumstances That Can Increase First Offense DUI Penalties
The state of Texas has strict laws that regulate and discourage drinking and driving. A minor under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI if police record any amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a breathalyzer or blood test. For driving while intoxicated (DWI), a charge that applies to drivers 21 years of age or over, the legal limit is 0.08% BAC.
It is important to note that in Texas, the police have the discretion to charge a minor with DWI instead of DUI. DWI is a more serious charge, a Class B misdemeanor. A first offense DWI conviction may include:
- Fines: up to $2000
- Jail time: 72 hours up to 180 days (no mandatory jail time)
- Driver license suspension: up to 1 year
DUI penalties may also be increased if the DUI involves an accident that injures someone else.
Defending Yourself Against a DUI Charge
When you are charged with DUI, the possible outcomes may include:
- Having the charges against your dismissed by proving that you are not guilty
- Accepting a plea deal where you plead guilty but have your penalties reduced
- Getting convicted of your charges on trial and facing the full legal consequences
In order to defend yourself against DUI charges, you or your lawyer may be able to:
- Check to see if the police had probable cause to pull you over in the first place. If they did not, the charges against you might be dismissed
- Check to see if the equipment the police used to measure your BAC was accurate and handled correctly
- Collect additional evidence that may be used to refute the prosecution’s evidence against you
Working with a Lawyer on Your Case
You do not need to face first offense DUI charges alone. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to defend your rights at every stage of your case. In general, a lawyer may be able to:
- Give you legal advice and help you make decisions in your case
- Collect evidence in your defense
- Work to have your charges dismissed
- If that is not possible, work to have your penalties reduced
- Help you get ready for any court appearances you must make
- Stand by your side on trial
Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for Help with a DUI Charge
The penalties for a first offense DUI by a minor can have major financial, academic, professional, and social consequences.
If you were in a car accident and received a DUI or DWI charge or have a minor child who was charged, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg may be able to help defend your rights. We represent clients in Dallas–Fort Worth and surrounding areas.
Our firm’s lead attorney, Randall B. Isenberg, has a legal career that spans over three decades. During this time, Randall B. Isenberg has worked as both a Senior Chief Felony Prosecutor and State District Trial Judge. Today, he dedicates his work to criminal defense.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can use our understanding of the Texas legal system to design a defense for your case when we represent you. For a free consultation on your case with a representative of our firm, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253.