Texas law does not take kindly to those who drink and drive. They have stiff penalties for adults and minors who are caught driving under the influence. Minors who are drinking and driving can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), or they can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), depending on the circumstances of their case. Convictions for these offenses can result in jail time, fines, license suspension, and mandatory community service.
If you are under 21 and you get a DUI, you should consider working with a criminal defense attorney. While you have the right to represent yourself in any legal proceeding, a lawyer can work to have the charges against you dropped or reduced.
Legal Penalties for Those Convicted of DUIs in Texas
If you are under 21 and caught driving with any amount of alcohol in your system, you can be charged with a DUI. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) outlines the consequences of underage drinking and driving in Texas.
A DUI can result in:
- License suspension for at least 60 days
- A $500 fine
- 20 to 40 hours of community service
- A required alcohol treatment program
If you are 17 years or older, and you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 while driving, you can be charged as an adult with a DWI and face the same penalties.
Some penalties that a first-time DUI offense for someone over the age of 17 years old can include:
- 3 to 180 days in jail
- A fine up to $2,000
- A suspension of your driver’s license anywhere from 90 days to 1 year
In addition, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), you may be required to install an ignition interlock device, which would restrict your ability to drive while intoxicated. You may also be forced to complete probation supervision, which can take away your freedom and privacy.
A DUI Can Affect Your Personal and Professional Life
In addition to the legal ramifications of a DUI, you may also face secondary consequences of a conviction. For example, you could lose your job due to a drunk driving conviction, and that could lead to financial hardships.
Your family relationships could suffer as you struggle to navigate the legal challenges that come along with a conviction. Furthermore, you could lose your driving privileges, which would force you to rely on rideshare services and favors from others.
DUIs stay on your record forever. This crime could impact your ability to secure a good job in the future. Certain jobs could be barred to you forever. No one wants to face these problems, but they could be a reality if you are convicted of a DUI in Texas.
What a DUI Lawyer Can Do for You
If this is your first time being charged with a criminal offense, you might think that your charges will be dismissed or reduced on that fact alone. However, you should never take any kind of criminal charge lightly. The negative effects of a conviction could be life-changing.
Fighting a charge on your own could be a challenge. However, a DUI lawyer can help you face a drunk driving charge. In some cases, your lawyer could get your charge thrown out entirely or reduced to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving.
A DUI lawyer can analyze your case to find contradictions. They can look for defenses that could get you out of this situation. It is your lawyer’s job to build a defense and work to get you the best outcome they can.
Plus, your lawyer can also provide you with legal advice and guide you through the criminal proceedings. You should consider the value of working with a criminal defense lawyer if you have not done so already.
Possible Defenses Against a DUI Charge
You may be considering signing a plea agreement to get your case over with. However, this may not be in your best interest. You reasonably want to explore all of your options. You might be able to put this event behind you without any marks on your criminal record.
Some of the strategies that your lawyer can employ on your behalf include:
- Arguing that there is not enough evidence against you
- Asserting that your rights were violated
- Disagreeing with the results of your blood or breathalyzer test
- Asserting that you were not drunk at the time of your arrest
- Disputing the facts against you
Your lawyer is your advocate throughout the judicial process. If you have any information regarding the nature of your arrest or how it was conducted, you should share those details with your legal team.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Now
Now that you have more information about what happens if you are under 21 and get a DUI, you should call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg. We can be reached at (214) 696-9253. You can learn more about your options when you call us today.