Austin, TX

Austin Underage DWI Lawyer

Experienced Underage DWI Lawyer In Austin, TX

The legal drinking age in Texas is 21, which means that people under 21 are not allowed to drink unless they have permission from a legal guardian, either on premises where alcohol is sold or on private property where alcohol is not sold. It is always illegal for anyone under 21 to drive a vehicle after drinking any amount of alcohol. However, Texas has a strict policy of zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving.

In Texas, drivers under 21 cannot have any amount of alcohol in their system while operating a vehicle, unlike many other states that allow a BAC level of up to .02%. If you are caught with even a small amount of alcohol while driving, you can be cited for a DWI. If you are facing underage DWI charges in Texas, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced Austin underage DWI lawyer. Contact ATX Legal now for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

Underage DWI Laws In Texas

In Texas, the DWI laws differ depending on the age of the driver. If you are under 21 years old, you are considered a “minor” under the law. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy and if you are an underage driver caught driving under the influence of alcohol, even with a small amount detected, you will be charged with DUIA by a Minor. A minor can be charged with DUIA even for a BAC of 0.02%, which means that even consuming half a beer may result in an over-the-limit BAC and lead to the charge, irrespective of whether the driver is drunk or not.

If the police suspect that a minor has consumed alcohol and is driving, they can be taken into custody and their car can be towed. If tests reveal the presence of alcohol in the minor’s breath or blood, their driver’s license can be suspended for 60 days for the first offense. If it happens again, the suspension period can be 120 days and for the third time, it can be 180 days. In case the minor refuses to take the breath, blood, or urine test, their license can be suspended for 180 days, regardless of whether they were sober or not.

Underage DWI Penalties In Texas

The penalties for a first, second, and third DWI offense are defined by Texas DUI law. Additionally, underage DWI offenses also have penalties associated with them. These penalties include the following:

First Underage DWI Offense

  • Class C Misdemeanor
  • Fine: up to $500
  • Attendance at an alcohol awareness class
  • Community service: between eight and twelve hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: up to 30 days

Second Underage DWI Offense

  • Class C Misdemeanor
  • Fine: up to $500
  • Possible attendance at an alcohol awareness class
  • Community service: between twenty and 40 hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: up to 60 days

Third Underage DWI Offense

  • Class C Misdemeanor
  • Fine: up to $500
  • Possible attendance at an alcohol awareness class
  • Community service: between 40 and 60 hours
  • Driver’s license suspended: up to 180 days, and no occupational license allowed

If a driver who is under the legal drinking age is caught driving under the influence, the penalties will be more severe if they are at least 17 years old and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. The increased penalties for this include:

  • Fine: up to $2,000
  • Jail term: between three and 180 days
  • Driver’s license suspended: between 90 days and one year

Alternative Resolutions For Underage DWI Offenses In Texas

Minors who are charged with drunk driving may have different alternatives for resolving their cases, unlike adults who are facing the same charges in regular criminal court. Two of these alternatives could be:

Teen Court

This program is designed for alleged offenders aged 10 to 17 (or 18 if they are still in high school) who want to be held accountable by their peers. The program is run by an adult coordinator and includes a guest judge, teenage bailiffs, a prosecutor, defense counsel, and a jury. Please note that Teen Court hearings and trials are not used to determine guilt or innocence. Instead, they are used to assign appropriate community service sentences. Therefore, participation in the program requires an admission of guilt. An Austin underage DWI lawyer can help you better understand your options and if teen court is a possibility.

Deferred Adjudication

A judge may decide to delay giving a verdict for a juvenile offender by using deferred prosecution or deferred disposition. During this time, the offender must follow specific requirements for a probationary period, including counseling, community service, or restitution. If the offender completes the probation successfully, they won’t receive a conviction on their record. However, if they don’t follow the requirements, the judge may give them the maximum sentence allowed by law.

Implied Consent And BAC Testing

In Texas, if you have a driver’s license, it is assumed that you have already given your consent to undergo a BAC test if necessary. However, you do have the option to refuse the test, but there are repercussions. If you are under 21 and refuse the test, you may be arrested and have to wait in jail until you appear before a judge or post bail, due to the state’s strict zero-tolerance policy. If you refuse to take a BAC test, your driving privileges may be suspended for 180 days. It’s best to comply with a blood test if the police have a warrant.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Zero-Tolerance For Minors Mean?

In Texas, if a minor has any alcohol in their bloodstream, it is considered a legal offense and can result in various court actions. This includes having their driver’s license suspended for a maximum of 2 months and being fined up to $500 for a first offense.

You may be required to attend an alcohol education program and do around 40 hours of community service if you are found guilty of driving while intoxicated. The community service could involve speaking to your peers about the risks of drunk driving or visiting people who were seriously harmed by a DWI incident.

How Much Will An Underage DWI Cost?

It’s important for young people to know that simply possessing alcohol as a minor can lead to legal trouble. The consequences can be severe, similar to those of a DWI. If a minor is pulled over for suspected drunk driving and their blood alcohol content level is at or above the legal limit, the penalties can grow significantly. This may include fines of up to $2000 and a suspension of driving privileges for anywhere from 3 months to a full year. If you or your child are facing DWI charges, it’s critical to speak with our Austin underage DWI lawyer right away.

Will I Lose My Insurance After An Underage DWI Offense?

If you receive an underage DUI/DWI, your insurance policy may be terminated or not renewed depending on your insurance company. Alternatively, most insurance companies may increase the cost of your insurance as they consider you high risk. Typically, this raise lasts for three to five years and is not permanent. If you are convicted of this offense, it is important to check with your insurance provider whether you need to file an SR-22 with the DMV as proof of insurance to get your license back. While most companies can do it for you, make sure to confirm beforehand that your insurer offers this service.

What Is The Legal BAC For Someone Under 21 In Texas?

In Texas, a person’s level of impairment is determined by their blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is measured using their breath, blood, or urine sample. If their BAC reading is .08 or above, they can be charged with DWI as it is considered the legal limit for intoxication in Texas. This rule is similar to that of other U.S. states.

Drivers who are under 21 in Texas have a different legal limit than those over 21 who are considered adults. Being a zero-tolerance state, if you are below 21 and have even tiny amounts of alcohol in your system, it is enough to lead to a DWI arrest. This implies that even with just one or two drinks, you could be arrested for DWI, regardless of whether you are not feeling buzzed or drunk.

Contact Our Austin Underage DWI Lawyer Today

Hiring an experienced DWI defense attorney is crucial if you or someone you care about has been charged with underage DWI. ATX Legal provides aggressive DWI defense for clients in Travis County and other nearby areas of Texas who are facing these charges. Contact our Austin underage DWI lawyer today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your pending charges.

Questions? We Can Help

Questions? We Can Help

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