Drinking and driving can get you into a lot of trouble in Denton, especially if you are under 21. An underage DWI charge can cost you your driver’s license. A conviction might also mean large fines and jail time. The worst part, however, is that you will have a permanent criminal record that can prevent you from gaining employment, renting an apartment, getting student loans, or even getting into the college of your choice.
An underage DWI lawyer in Denton will protect your legal rights and fight for your future. Attorney Randall Isenberg has more than 30 years’ experience navigating the criminal justice system. Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at 214-696-9253 to put that experience to work for your underage DWI case.
Will You Go to Jail for an Underage DWI Conviction?
Upon conviction for an underage DWI charge, you will likely face jail time, in addition to substantial fines and the suspension of your driver’s license.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and your prior criminal record, you could face years in prison.
For your first under 21 DWI, you will face class B misdemeanor charges. Upon conviction, you will face the following penalties:
- 3 days to 6 months in jail
- Monetary fines of up to $2,000
- Driver’s license suspension of 90 days to 6 months
For a second offense of underage DWI, you will face class A misdemeanor charges, with penalties that include:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Monetary fines of up to $4,000
- A potential 2-year license suspension (minimum 6 months)
Upon your third (and subsequent) arrest for underage DWI, you will face felony charges, with penalties including:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Monetary fines of up to $10,000
- A potential 2-year license suspension (minimum 6 months)
In addition to the fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension, you must also attend alcohol education courses. The judge may require you to put an ignition interlock mechanism in your car and sentence you to probation or community service. The court may also compel you go to rehab or substance abuse counseling.
For a young driver, the worst part of an underage DWI conviction is that it stays on your record permanently, with no opportunity for sealing or expunging your record.
Consequently, anyone who runs a background check on you — such as a potential employer, landlord, or college admissions office — will know about your crime. They can use this knowledge to deny you a job, an apartment, or school admission. In many cases, a drunk driving conviction will prevent you from holding a professional license, such as those needed to be a teacher or nurse. Your car insurance costs will significantly increase as well.
How Does Underage DWI Differ from Underage DUI?
This question causes confusion for many young drivers and their families, as the Texas statutes provide for two different types of underage drinking and driving charges.
The simple answer is that the type of charge you will face depends on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when officers placed you under arrest.
Drivers under age 21 will face underage DUI if a chemical BAC test shows any trace of alcohol. However, a BAC of 0.08 or above will earn you full-blown DWI charges, no matter how old you are.
The Texas statutes, as outlined in the Texas Penal Code, also allow the police to charge you with underage DWI if you have drugs in your system or if an officer determines that you drove while lacking appropriate physical or mental capacity to do so safely.
If your BAC registers above 0.15, you will face aggravated DWI charges, which carry substantially higher fines and jail time. You will also face aggravated charges if you had any passengers under the age of 15 or an open container of alcohol in the car with you.
If the police can prove you provided alcohol to a minor, or if you caused an accident — especially if the DWI accident resulted in injuries or a fatality — you will face felony charges that, upon conviction, could put you in prison for many years, even if you have no prior record.
How Can an Underage DWI Lawyer Help You?
When you call on Randall Isenberg, you will have the benefit of his more than three decades of experience in the criminal justice system. And, because he served as chief felony prosecutor and a state judge in addition to his time as a criminal defense lawyer, he brings invaluable insight into how the prosecutor will try to build a case against you.
The first thing our legal team will do is carefully analyze the evidence in your case, in search of potential weaknesses in the evidence or mistakes made during your arrest and processing.
If the police violated your legal rights, for example, or if your BAC testing failed to comply with required standards and procedures, our team can use this information to negotiate with the prosecutor. In some cases, we may succeed in getting your DWI charges reduced (to underage DUI, for example) or even dropped.
If your case does to go court, our legal team will build the strongest possible defense. The seriousness of these charges requires the prosecutor to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, providing ample opportunities for us to present evidence in your defense.
Throughout the criminal process, we will be there to protect your legal rights and to answer all your questions. If you get us involved early enough, we can also help you navigate the process that determines whether you get to keep your driver’s license.
Will You Lose Your License for an Underage DWI?
Once the police arrest you on underage DWI charges, it triggers a process known as Administrative License Revocation (ALR).
At the time of your arrest, the police will seize your license and issue a temporary driving permit that allows you to drive for 40 days after your arrest. You must request an ALR hearing within 15 days, using the procedure outlined on the temporary permit. If you fail to request the hearing, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) will revoke your license after 40 days.
At your hearing, both you and the arresting officer will give sworn testimony. Although the ALR proceedings are unrelated to the criminal aspect of your case, the prosecutor can — and will — use anything you say at the hearing against you in court.
With our legal team there to represent you, we can make a case on your behalf and protect your legal right to not incriminate yourself. We can also gain valuable information and insight into the prosecution’s case, which can help us build a more effective criminal defense.
Meet with an Underage DWI Lawyer in Denton Today for Free
Talk to an underage DWI attorney before you make any decisions about your case.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offers a no-cost, no-obligation consultation for you and your family. This will help ensure that you understand your options and get the answers you need to make the right decision.
Contact us today at 214-696-9253 to make an appointment with an underage DWI lawyer in Denton.