The state of Texas imposes harsh penalties on those drivers cited or charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The Texas legislature created stricter standards regarding the blood alcohol concentration of those drivers under the age of 21, lowering it down to 0.01. If you or someone you love has been cited or charged as an underage driver under the influence of alcohol, call an under 21 DWI lawyer in Lewisville from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for more information at (214) 696-9253 to learn how we can help you address these charges.
Under 21 DWI vs. DUI
If you are under 21 and are under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel of a vehicle in the state of Texas, you may be charged with either a DWI or DUI, depending on the circumstances. Any driver in the state of Texas that has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will be charged with a DWI, a Class B misdemeanor. However, for a first-time offense, an underage driver that is driving under the influence may be charged with a DUI, a Class C misdemeanor.
The state of Texas has a strict zero-tolerance policy with regard to underage drinking and driving. According to TX Code Sec. 106.041(a), any underage driver that has any trace of alcohol in their system, even a 0.01 reading, can be charged with the offense of driving under the influence. Additionally, underage drivers that are lawfully arrested for driving with alcohol in their system must submit to either a blood or breath BAC test, under the Texas “implied consent” law (TX Code Sec. 724). If the underage driver refuses either of these tests, they can be jailed immediately until their appearance before a judge in juvenile court or post a bond. Also, a refusal to take one of these tests will result in an automatic 180-day license suspension.
Penalties for DWI and DUI for Underage Drivers
The penalties for underage drivers that have any amount of alcohol in their system is harsh. The level of severity depends upon how many times the underage driver has been arrested and charged.
DUI for a Minor
The Texas Department of Safety states that the penalties for a minor under 17 years of age, driving with any trace of alcohol in their system.
- A minor that has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system will have their driver’s license suspended for 60 days for the first offense, 120 days for the second offense, and 180 days for the third and following offenses.
- 1st Offense – Class C Misdemeanor – Fine up to $500.00, 20-40 hours of community service and driver’s license suspension for 60-180 days. Attendance in an Alcohol Awareness Course will be required.
- 2nd Offense – Class C Misdemeanor – Fine up to $500.00, 40-60 hours of community service, and driver’s license suspension for 120 days to 2 years. Attendance in an Alcohol Awareness Course will be required.
- 3rd Offense – Delinquent Conduct by Minor 10-17 years of age – Fine up to $500.00, 40-60 hours of community service, and driver’s license suspension for 120 days to 2 years.
DWI for a Minor
Minors may also be charged with a DWI in Texas if they are between the ages of 17 and 21. The following are Texas penalties minor DWI for a minor.
- 1st Offense – Class B Misdemeanor – Fine up to $2,000.00, confinement in jail of 72 hours to 180 days, and driver’s license suspension for 1 year. The suspension may be reduced to 90 days if there is community supervision and an ignition interlock device.
- 2nd Offense – Class A Misdemeanor – Fine up to $4,000.00, confinement in jail of 30 days to 1 year, and driver’s license suspension for 180 days to 18 months.
- 3rd Offense – Felony of the Third Degree – Fine up to $10,000.00, confinement in the penitentiary for 2-10 years, and a driver’s license suspension for 180 days to two years.
In addition to criminal penalties, there are other consequences of an under 21 DWI arrest or conviction. Car insurance companies may raise insurance premiums or cancel you as a driver. A conviction can remain on your record and affect your educational opportunities or career ambitions. Many college students have lost financial aid, scholarships, or have been expelled from higher education institutions because of their convictions.
Contact an Under 21 DWI Lawyer in Lewisville
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg have experience protecting the rights of you, or your child against an underage DWI or DUI charge. To find out more about what your options are, what your legal rights are, what the DUI or DWI process entails, and how our firm can attempt to reduce or remove these penalties, contact our legal team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 for a free consultation.