For an underage DWI charge, you face a major fine, potential jail time, and a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. You also might also have a permanent criminal record, which can prevent you from getting into a good school, getting student loans, landing a good job, or renting an apartment.
Talking to an underage DWI lawyer in Highland Park will help you make the right decision for your future. To ensure you understand the charges against you and the options you have, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg provides a free and confidential consultation.
Call our office today at 214-696-9253 to schedule an appointment.
Underage DWI Penalties in Highland Park
Your age has no bearing on the penalties for a DWI conviction. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested at 0.08 or above, you face the same charges and penalties an older driver would.
An under-21 DWI offense carries Class B misdemeanor charges, with possible penalties that include:
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A potential 1-year driver’s license suspension
Second underage DWI offenses carry Class A misdemeanor charges with potential penalties that include:
- Up to $4,000 in fines
- Up to 1 year in jail
- A potential 2-year driver’s license suspension
Third and subsequent underage DWI offenses carry felony charges with a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. If any aggravating circumstances apply in your case, or if you caused an accident with damages, injuries, or a fatality, you will potentially face even more serious charges.
The court can also require you to attend counseling or education courses and install an ignition interlock device on your car, both at your expense. You could receive probation and community service, and the judge can even compel your parents to attend alcohol education classes.
The record of your conviction can cause colleges and universities to deny you admission and may disqualify you for student loans. A criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or obtain a professional license.
An Underage DWI Lawyer Can Help
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we understand how scary a DWI charge can be, and we are here to help.
A DWI lawyer will protect your legal rights and fight tirelessly on your behalf. We will ensure you understand what a drunk driving conviction could mean for your future. We will explain your options, allowing you to make informed choices about your case.
Our primary goal is to get your DWI charges reduced or even dismissed. However, we can also prepare the most robust possible defense, if going to trial is necessary.
How Underage DWI Differs From Underage DUI
Underage drivers — those age 20 and younger — can face either DUI or DWI charges, depending on their level of intoxication.
Because Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving by underage drivers, you will face charges for any amount of measurable alcohol in your system. If your BAC testing registered below 0.08, you will likely face the less serious charge of DUI (driving under the influence). However, for a BAC reading of 0.08 or above, even under-21 drivers will face DWI charges.
The police do not necessarily need to have chemical test results to arrest you, however. If an officer perceives that you cannot safely operate a vehicle, they can place you under arrest for drunk driving based on that opinion alone.
Losing Your Driver’s License for an Underage DWI
Upon getting arrested for underage DWI in Highland Park, you will face two different legal processes: criminal drunk driving charges and a civil proceeding to determine what happens to your driver’s license.
The civil proceeding, known as the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process, consists of a hearing before an administrative law judge. During this hearing, the officer who arrested you will give testimony as to why the judge should suspend your license. You can also give testimony; however, the prosecutor can use anything you say during the ALR hearing against you in your criminal trial.
Having our legal team represent you for the ALR hearing provides several key benefits, including:
- Making a persuasive case for you to keep your license
- Helping you avoid making any potentially incriminating statements
- Questioning the arresting officer under oath
- Learning evidence that could strengthen your criminal defense
During the ALR process, we have our first opportunity to view the prosecutor’s evidence. This can prove invaluable for our legal strategies in your criminal case. And, if the judge does move to suspend your license, we can appeal or petition the court for an occupational license, allowing you to drive to work and school.
Legal Strategies for Fighting an Underage DWI Charge in Highland Park
Although we will design our legal strategy based on the details of your case, we typically look at the following options when challenging an under 21 DWI charge.
Legal Rights Violations
Any violations of your constitutional rights can potentially provide a powerful defense strategy. For example, if law enforcement failed to inform you of your right to refuse BAC testing, or if they lacked probable cause for arresting you, it could invalidate any evidence the police subsequently obtained.
Faulty BAC Testing Evidence
The police in Highland Park typically use either breathalyzer or blood testing for BAC to prove drunk driving cases. However, the technology used for these tests can fail, leading to faulty test results. In many cases, certain foods, beverages, medications, or even dental hygiene products can trigger a false positive breath test. We have two of these machines in our office, so we know how they work and how they can malfunction.
Randall Isenberg has more than 30 years of experience in the Texas criminal justice system. He worked both as a prosecutor and judge, giving him a unique perspective on how the prosecution will build its case against you. Our resources and experience allow us to pick apart the evidence in your case and use any potential errors or issues as leverage for negotiating for a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Schedule a Free, Confidential Consultation With an Underage DWI Lawyer
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offers no-cost, no-obligation case reviews for underage drivers facing DWI charges in Highland Park.
We will discuss your case and ensure you have the information you need to make the right choices for your future. Call us today at 214-696-9253 to schedule your appointment.