Facing a DWI at any age is a stressful, humbling ordeal, but perhaps even more so when you are young and have a clean record with your entire future ahead of you. Getting charged with an underage DWI can mean jail time and fines, not to mention probation and loss of driving privileges.
If you have been arrested or cited with drunk driving, contact an underage DWI lawyer in Dallas, TX at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for information about your rights, responsibilities, and how to handle your case for the best possible outcome: 214-696-9253.
I thought minors received DUIs in Texas? Why did I get a DWI instead?
In most cases, no. Texas is notably strict when it comes to underage drinking. The state enforces a zero-tolerance policy, which means that any alcohol in a driver under the age of 21 — even a trace amount of 0.01 — can result in drunk driving charges (an underage DUI).
Some compassionate officers will give young drivers a DUI rather than a DWI. However, it is up to the officer’s discretion and receiving a DUI rather than a DWI charge is rare. In most cases, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or over, you will face DWI charges.
In either case, if you or your child is facing charges for underage drinking and driving, talk an attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg as soon as possible to find out what you are up against and how to fight the charges.
What are the penalties for underage DWI in Dallas?
Pursuant to Texas Code § 49.04, a DWI is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. If the court convicts you of underage DWI, you could face:
- A fine of up to $2,000;
- 3 to 180 days in county jail;
- A 90-day to 1-year license suspension; and
The penalties worsen if you have prior drunk driving charges on your record or if there were other aggravating factors involved. For example, a second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor and will double your fine to $4,000, double the length of your license suspension to 2 years, and increase your jail time up to a year. A third DWI could mean a whopping $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison, and the court will mandate that you install a special ignition switch on your car.
Aggravated underage drinking cases can include charges such as:
- Driving with an open container: Triggers an automatic minimum jail sentence of at least 6 days.
- Driving with a BAC of 0.15 or higher: Upgrades charges to a Class A misdemeanor, which means up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine, even if it is your first offense.
- Driving with a child passenger: If you were driving while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 15 in the car, you could spend up to 2 years in jail and have to pay a $10,000 fine.
- Giving alcohol to a minor: If you furnished a minor with alcohol, it could be a separate charge with penalties up to $4,000 in fines and a year in jail.
- Causing bodily injury: If you were intoxicated and caused someone serious bodily injury (known as “intoxication assault”), you will face third-degree felony charges.
- Intoxication manslaughter: If you were intoxicated and caused an accident in which someone died, you will face a $10,000 fine, a driver’s license suspension of 180 days to 2 years, and jail time between 2 and 20 years.
How can an underage DWI lawyer help with my case?
Defending drunk driving charges is one our primary practice areas at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg. We know how scary facing DWI charges can be and the impact a marred criminal record can have on your future, not to mention the effect a conviction will have on your insurance premiums. When you work with our firm, our main goals will be to protect your rights during the process, help you avoid jail time, and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
After a quick investigation of the facts of your case, we will discuss the best way to approach your charges in light of your circumstances. We might be able to intervene early before the state has filed official charges and prevent those charges altogether. Sometimes, we can challenge the breath or blood test, the officer’s right to pull you over, or the basis for the search and seizure and get the case dropped.
In other cases, we might bargain with the prosecutor to get the charges reduced from a DWI to a lesser DUI charge, which carries fewer penalties. In cases where a dismissal is not possible, we will seek probation instead of jail time and try to get the court to minimize the fines and throw out the license suspension.
Charged with underage DWI in Dallas? Speak to a lawyer now.
You need legal representation fast following an arrest for underage DWI in Dallas. Our Dallas DWI lawyers at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help. The initial call is free. After hearing your story, we can direct you on the next steps to take and explain how we may be able to help.
Call our office at 214-696-9253 today.