DWI/DUI Cases Involving Minors Under 21
Despite what you may hear, it is perfectly legal to drink and then drive in Texas, so long as you are not intoxicated or under 21.
There is a zero tolerance policy regarding underage drinking and driving in this state. It is written in Section 106.041 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. When a person under the age of 21 has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system and operates a motor vehicle, it is, at a minimum, a Class C Misdemeanor, the maximum punishment of which is a $500 fine. An officer may issue a citation or arrest the minor.
The minor may also be required to attend an alcohol awareness class, the failure to attend which may result in driver's license suspension among other consequences. Additionally, the minor may have to perform 20-40 hours of community service after a first offense or 40 - 60 hours after a second.
A minor with two prior convictions for this is not eligible for either deferred disposition or deferred adjudication and may be punished by a fine of between $500 and $2000 and/or up to six months in jail. If the minor has not only consumed alcohol, but is intoxicated, they may be prosecuted for
DWI and related crimes.
Driver's License Suspension for Any Detectable Amount
Following their arrest or citation for underage drinking and driving, a driver under twenty-one years of age will have 15 days to arrange an Administrative License Revocation (ARL) hearing to try to prevent the loss of their driving privileges. If the hearing is not scheduled, the driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of 60 days. Contact a Houston criminal defense lawyer if you or a loved one has been charged with underage DWI for immediate legal representation.
Houston Underage DWI Attorney
Unfortunately, the consequences of zero tolerance often fall on parents who may end up bearing the financial burden of the children's mistakes. This may involve a huge inconvenience as well, forcing the parent to find means of transporting the youth after the suspension of their license. While it may initially seem appropriate to let the child accept responsibility for their actions and the consequences thereof, it may ultimately be the parent who feels the punishment most acutely.
There are many ways to defend accusations against minors accused of violating Texas' zero tolerance policy. The Law Office of Q. Tate Williams P.C., is a highly regarded criminal defense firm that has provided able representation in underage drunk driving cases. My name is Tate and I have over 10 years of experience as a criminal defense and DWI/DUI lawyer. When a young driver is arrested, they will be facing consequences that can have a detrimental impact on their future. In addition to penalties such as jail time and fines, a guilty verdict will result in a permanent criminal record that can limit their employment, housing and educational opportunities. I take a strong interest in the welfare of my clients, and will seek ways to avoid or mitigate an underage driver's DWI charges and sentencing and loss of driving privileges.
Contact a Houston DWI lawyer at my firm to find out about the DWI court process for underage drivers and your defense options.