A DWI can have a serious impact on an offender in Texas, and just because the person charged with the DWI is underage, does not mean that they are handled any more lightly than an adult. In fact, the threshold for a DWI arrest involving an underaged driver is lower than with an adult, meaning that nearly any amount of alcohol, as well as any intoxication from controlled substances, will result in an arrest and charges.
If you or your child has been charged with Driving While Intoxicated in Texas, contact the team at Cole Paschall Law as soon as possible to begin working on a strong, aggressive defense. Our experience defending DWI charges in Texas will be an enormous asset for your case. Take advantage of our free initial consultation, where you will be able to speak to a legal professional about the specifics of your case, the charges that you are facing, and learn more about how we have handled cases similar to your own in the past.
It is essential that you handle these charges with extreme care to ensure that an underaged mistake does not negatively impact the rest of your life. There are many different creative defenses and approaches that we will explore to mitigate the impact that this arrest will have on your life, and we will determine the most appropriate course of action to achieve the top possible results given the circumstances. Read more about underaged DWI arrests below, and contact us as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.
How Do Underage DWI Charges Work in Texas?
The charges of DWI are generally applicable to anyone who is operating a vehicle with a BAC of over 0.08% or is found to be operating without control over their mental and physical capacities because of any mind-altering substances, including prescription medication.
However, there is a zero-tolerance policy for underage driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, meaning that any detectable amount of alcohol in their system will result in an arrest for DUIA, or Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. If, in addition, the underaged offender meets the criteria for a DWI arrest, which is a BAC of .08% or impairment of any faculties from a controlled substance, they can be charged with a combination of DWI and DUIA.
Texas has different penalties depending on the age of the underaged driver, which are explained in greater detail below.
Driving Under the Influence Of Alcohol Under the Age of 17
When a driver is arrested for DUIA under the age of 17, the charges are typically a Class C Misdemeanor (barring any enhancing charges like possession of controlled substances or open container). The penalties for this charge can include a maximum fine of $500, a minimum license suspension of 2 months, and up to 40 hours of community service. In addition, both the minor is required to attend alcohol awareness courses to learn more about the dangers of alcohol abuse. In some instances, the parent(s) may be required to attend these courses as well.
Driving Under the Influence Of Alcohol Between the Ages of 17 and 20
When a driver is arrested for DUIA between the ages of 17 and 20, the charges are typically upgraded from a Class C to a Class B Misdemeanor, which comes with harsher penalties. The punishments can include up to $2,000 in fines, between 3 days and 6 months in jail, and a license suspension of at least 1 year. Penalties may be reduced if the defendant agrees to alcohol awareness courses as well as the installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Of course, penalties will increase if there are enhancements to the charges beyond a DUIA.
Contact Us Now
Regardless of the specifics of your arrest, contact Cole Paschall Law now to begin working with an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney for your underaged DWI or DUIA charges. It is important that these charges are handled seriously, and we work towards the top possible outcome in order to avoid excessive long-term damage to the underaged offender’s criminal record, personal, and professional life.