Under 21 DUI Lawyer in Fort Worth

Even an under 21 DUI in Fort Worth carries harsh consequences that can negatively affect a young life for years to come. Texas takes a “zero tolerance” stance on underage drinking and driving, and law enforcement officers will not look the other way on this issue.

Although the legal drunk driving standards are different for drivers under the age of 21, a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction may include a substantial fine and the suspension of your driver’s license. If you or a young family member currently faces underage drunk driving charges, an under 21 DUI lawyer in Fort Worth from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help you through the process, protecting your legal rights and your promising future.

Give us a call today: 214-696-9253.

What are the Texas laws for an under 21 DUI?

Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code defines legal intoxication as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above. This standard is the basis for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.

However, Texas laws offer an alternative standard for drivers under the age of 21.

Underage impaired drivers are subject to driving under the influence (DUI) charges, as set forth in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC). This means that younger drivers do not have to be intoxicated; they must only have a measurable level of alcohol in their system.

Under 21 DWI versus DUI: what is the difference?

Because the distinction between a Texas DWI charge and an underage DUI charge can be subtle (and confusing), it may help to explore the details of each.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

The Texas statutes deem you to be legally intoxicated when your BAC is 0.08 or more, no matter how old you are.

You will face DWI charges if your chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine) results support this level of impairment. A Class B misdemeanor, these charges can earn you up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. You will also face a suspension of your driver’s license and the conviction will remain on your record permanently.

If your BAC was 0.15 or higher, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Chapter 16 of the TABC establishes under 21 DUI, which applies to motor vehicles as well as watercraft.

If a minor (a person under the age of 21) operates a motor vehicle in a public place with any detectable amount of alcohol in her system, she faces a Class C misdemeanor DUI charge, which is more like a complex traffic ticket than a criminal charge.

Note: In rare cases, officers will charge underage drivers with DUI instead of DWI, even if the driver blows a 0.08.

What are the penalties for an under 21 DUI in Fort Worth?

The first underage DUI offense typically carries:

  • A $500 fine
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandatory attendance of an approved alcohol awareness course
  • A 60-day driver’s license suspension

A second under 21 DUI conviction carries:

  • A $500 fine
  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • Mandatory attendance of an approved alcohol awareness course
  • A 120-day driver’s license suspension

A third conviction carries:

  • Fines up to $2,000
  • 180 days’ suspension of the driver’s license
  • Up to 180 days in jail

Texas statutes give underage drinking and driving offenders a chance for deferred adjudication (i.e., a type of probation that can result in a case dismissal if you complete all requirements), at least for the first two incidents.

The mandatory community service required as a part of deferred disposition must relate in some way to alcohol abuse. Failure to complete the alcohol awareness course may result in an additional driver’s license suspension.

Should you try to fight an under 21 DUI charge?

Because Texas law offers young offenders a second (and third) chance at redemption, your attorney may recommend accepting a deferred adjudication program.

However, upon a third or subsequent offense, we may wish to explore other options. A third underage DUI charge comes with up to six months of jail time which can affect your entire future.

Am I eligible for Fort Worth Teen Court?

Teen Court is a program offered by many Texas counties, specifically for minors under the age 18 and those who attend high school.

The Fort Worth Teen Court offers minors charged with a Class C misdemeanor (the typical under 21 DUI charge) the opportunity to participate in the program in exchange for a dismissal of charges.

Teens charged with underage DUI who have not previously participated in a teen court program can request referral to Teen Court. To complete the obligations of the Fort Worth Teen Court program, participants must meet the following requirements within three months.

  • Perform community service (8 to 64 hours)
  • Serve two terms on the Teen Court jury
  • Pay court costs
  • Write assigned essays
  • Any other requirements assigned

Not only does the Teen Court program offer under 21 DUI offenders the chance to have their charges dismissed but it provides a hands-on learning experience designed to teach teens about the justice system.

Because the eligibility requirements for Teen Court can vary, Randall B. Isenberg can help you determine if this is the best option for you and, if so, assist you in the application process.

Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today for a free consultation.

In Fort Worth, an underage drunk driving attorney can help protect a young offender’s legal rights and future. Even though DUI charges may appear minor, a conviction can profoundly affect your (or your child’s) life for many years.

Randall B. Isenberg has decades of experience as a felony prosecutor, state district judge, and defense attorney. This experience gives him the unique advantage of knowing how the other side works. He uses this knowledge on each of his cases to get cases thrown out or negotiate for reduced charges.

To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg. We offer free consultations and case reviews to clients throughout the Fort Worth area. Contact us today to speak to or schedule an appointment with an under 21 DUI lawyer in Dallas-Fort Worth: 214-696-9253.

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