If you or your loved one is under 21 and has been accused of driving under the influence, it can cause a great deal of anxiety and worry about the future. Texan laws have a strict zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drivers and drunk driving.
Police officers may arrest underage drivers suspected of drinking with probable cause. They may use devices to test a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to determine if it is .08 percent or higher, which is grounds for arrest. However, if you are below the legal drinking age, you may be arrested for having any alcohol in your system, even if it is below .08 percent.
If you believe you or a loved one was falsely accused of committing a DUI or had your rights violated during an arrest, a Hurst under 21 DUI lawyer may be able to defend your case. Our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg is ready to help. Call (214) 696-9253 today for a free consultation.
A DUI Might Affect an Underage Driver’s Future
In Texas, being arrested for driving under the influence can impose harsh consequences. Texas mandated zero-tolerance laws to remedy the larger social issue of drunk driving in their state. Police officers are encouraged to be vigilant about taking drunk drivers off the road. If they suspect someone is driving under the influence, they may stop and arrest that person if the person tests at or above the legal BAC limit of .08 percent. Again, people under 21 may be arrested for having any alcohol in their system.
Getting arrested for a DUI can incur penalties, such as license suspension, fines, and a DUI mark on a person’s driving record. These types of punishments can pose obstacles in the future. A DUI may tarnish a young person’s future if they are convicted of this offense. A Hurst under 21 DUI lawyer may be able to come to your defense and help you fight against a DUI charge.
Minors May Have Their License Suspended After a DUI Charge
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), if you are a minor suspected of driving under the influence, an officer may stop your vehicle. They may ask you to submit to multiple field sobriety tests, such as observing your ability to keep your balance, speak, and think coherently. If the officer makes the judgment that you have any amount of alcohol in your system, they may legally do the following:
- Arrest you and have your vehicle towed
- Handcuff you and transport you to the police department
- Ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test
- Take you to a hospital or clinic to have your blood tested, which may be required if someone was injured or killed in an accident
Minors are legally required to submit to breath or blood sample tests because of Implied Consent Laws in Texas. As a minor, you automatically consent to any tests that you are required to submit, even if you do not want to participate. If you refuse to submit a specimen for testing, this may result in an automatic license suspension. You can be held in jail unless someone posts your bond or until you are due to appear in court. The first time you refuse, your license will be suspended for 180 days. The second refusal results in a license suspension of two years.
If the submitted specimens test positive for any amount of alcohol in your system while you were operating a vehicle in a public place, your driver license will be suspended for the following time periods:
- First offense: 60 days
- Second offense: 120 days
- Third and additional offenses: 180 days
This is where an attorney can come in. A minor is able to request a court hearing to dispute if the officer had probable cause to stop their vehicle and arrest them or if they had alcohol or other substances in their system at the time of the arrest.
The Difference Between a DWI and a DUI
DUIs are issued to underage drivers suspected of driving under the influence with any amount of alcohol in their system. DWIs are normally issued to adults aged 21 and older who have a BAC level greater than .08 percent.
The TxDPS lists the penalties for DWIs. The penalties for a DWI issued to adults aged 21 and older include:
- Attending an Alcohol Education Program for 12 hours if it is your first offense or 32 hours if it is a repeat offense
- Having your driver license suspended for a period of up to two years
- Paying a fine of $100 and any other additional fees
- Getting a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an insurance company that has been authorized by the court
- Serving probation
- Having an ignition interlock device be installed in your vehicle to prevent you from driving under the influence again
To be eligible to drive with an ignition interlock device, you must apply for an Interlock Restricted driver license. If you are required to drive for your occupation or other necessary purposes, you may contact your resident county court or a justice of the peace court to see if you are eligible to apply for an Occupational driver license.
Also, if you serve probation, you must show that you completed a 12-hour Alcohol Education Program. A judge may waive this requirement. You must submit evidence that you completed the program to the Texas Department of Public Safety within 180 days from the date of your conviction. If you do not submit evidence of completion, your license will be revoked and you must pay a reinstatement fee.
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Penalties for a DUI Committed by a Minor Under 17
The penalties for a DUI committed by a minor under 17 years of age is as follows:
- First offense: Penalties for a first DUI offense include paying a fine up to $500, performing community service for 20 to 40 hours, having your driver license suspended for 60 to 180 days, and participating in an Alcohol Awareness Course, which may also be required for the minor’s parent. This is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor.
- Second offense: Penalties for a second DUI offense include paying a fine up to $500, performing community service for 40 to 60 hours, having your driver license suspended for 120 days to two years, and having to attend an Alcohol Awareness Course. The second offense is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor.
- Third offense: A third DUI offense is considered Delinquent Conduct for minors aged 10 to 17. Penalties include paying a $500 fine, performing community service for 40 to 60 hours, and having your driver license suspended for 180 days to two years.
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Our Team May Be Able to Help You Fight a DUI
It can be devastating to be accused of driving under the influence, and minors can have their future at risk if they are convicted of drinking and driving. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be able to collect evidence that you are not guilty of committing this offense.
A person might be falsely accused of a DUI for any number of reasons, such as the breathalyzer test was faulty or the arresting officer acted unethically and without probable cause. A Hurst under 21 DUI lawyer may be able to present evidence that supports your claims and potentially have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg wants to defend your case. If you need legal assistance, call (214) 696-9253 today for a free case evaluation and see how our team might be able to help you build a criminal defense case.
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Get Help from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg
People under the age of 21 who are falsely accused of driving under the influence are vulnerable to having their futures and reputation put at risk if they are convicted of a DUI. A Hurst under 21 DUI lawyer may be able to set the record straight and save them the grief of having to live with a record of an offense that they did not even commit.
The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg may be able to protect your rights and safeguard your future. Call (214) 696-9253 for a free case evaluation and start building your case today.