Conviction for an underage DWI in McKinney means a substantial fine, suspension of your driver’s license, and the possibility of a jail sentence. As harsh as these penalties may sound, they are not the worst part.
In Texas, a conviction will remain on your record permanently without the possibility of having your record sealed or expunged. This means you will struggle to find affordable car insurance. It can prevent you from getting into a good school or qualifying for student loans. Potential employers and landlords may deny your application for a job or apartment.
Before you make any decisions about your case, talk to an underage DWI lawyer in McKinney to learn about your options.
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we offer no-cost, no-obligation legal consultations for clients under the age of 21 who face drunk driving charges. Call our office today at 214-696-9253 for help.
Why Is It Important for You to Have an Underage DWI Lawyer?
Having a criminal defense lawyer can benefit clients of any age. However, for an underage driver facing a drunk driving charge, having qualified legal counsel can help you overcome a potentially life-changing event. With the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg on your side, you will have the full benefit of our knowledge and resources working for your future.
We will protect your legal rights and ensure you receive all the legal privileges the law allows. We will answer your questions and explore your options with you so you can make the most informed choice for your future.
Our legal team will put all our resources to work as we analyze the evidence in your case. We will look for any potential police errors or violations of your legal rights. We can then use that information to negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
If we decide together that taking your case to court is the best option, we will work tirelessly to build the strongest possible defense for you.
What Are the Penalties for an Underage DWI?
If you are convicted of an underage DWI in McKinney, you will face the same penalties as someone age 21 or over would face.
The Texas Penal Code imposes the same penalties on everyone, no matter how old they are. For a first offense, the charges you face depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), your prior criminal record, and any aggravating circumstances present at the time of your arrest.
To incur a DWI charge, your BAC must register at least 0.08, and you must have driven in a public location. For a first offense, you will face Class B misdemeanor charges, unless there were aggravating circumstances in your case.
If you are convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, state law allows for penalties that include:
- Up to 6 months in jail;
- Fines of up to $2,000; and
- License suspension of up to 1 year.
For a second offense, you will face Class A misdemeanor charges. Upon conviction, this offense includes the following penalties:
- Up to 1 year in jail;
- Monetary fines of up to $4,000; and
- License suspension up to 2 years.
For a third offense, you will face felony DWI charges that carry as much as 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If you had any aggravating circumstances, the prosecutor can pursue more serious charges. Aggravating circumstances may include any of the following factors:
- A BAC of 0.15 or above;
- Having a minor passenger—age 14 or younger—in your car;
- Providing alcohol to a minor; and
- Having an open alcohol container in your car.
If you drove drunk and caused an accident—especially if the accident led to property damage, bodily injuries, or a fatality—you will likely face much more serious criminal charges.
In addition to these harsh penalties, you will have to attend an alcohol education course. The judge may also require you to seek counseling for alcohol abuse. You may also receive probation and community service and have to pay to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle.
Is Underage DUI Different Than Underage DWI in Texas?
In Texas, a DUI is not the same as an underage DWI.
Under rules from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), anyone who has not reached age 21 will face DUI charges if they test positive for having any trace of alcohol in their system. However, an underage driver with a BAC of 0.08 or above may face DWI charges, just as an older driver would.
The police can also arrest you for underage DWI if you have a sufficient quantity of illegal drugs or controlled substances in your body.
What Legal Strategies Will an Underage DWI Lawyer Use?
Our legal team will build a criminal defense strategy based on the facts and evidence of your case.
For example, we may be able to argue that the police lacked reasonable suspicion for stopping your car, or that they did not establish proof that you were intoxicated before arresting you. These situations would indicate a lack of probable cause.
We can also evaluate the breathalyzer and blood testing used to establish your BAC. If the police or testing technician failed to follow any of the established guidelines and requirements, we can fight to have the resulting evidence disallowed in court.
Our legal team will also represent you during the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process. At your ALR suspended license hearing, we will represent you to protect your legal rights and ensure you do not provide any testimony the prosecutor can use against you. We can fight to retain your driver’s license. If the ALR judge elects to suspend your license, we can petition the court for an occupational license that will allow you to drive to work and school and handle other important personal matters.
Speak to an Underage DWI Lawyer in McKinney Today for Free.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg would like to offer you a free consultation to discuss your case and help you understand your options.
The prosecutor may try to convince you that pleading guilty will make the problem go away more quickly. However, once you enter a guilty plea, you will be stuck with the negative consequences of a conviction.
Contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about your options. Call our office at 214-696-9253 to get started.