What are the Texas laws for underage drunk driving?
Drunk driving charges in Texas are taken very seriously and are clearly a violation of the law. This issue is compounded when the charge is underage drunk driving. Those who are arrested and charged with underage DUI must be aware of the punishments that will accompany a conviction. Understanding the law is the first step to dealing with these charges for a person who is under the age of 21.
Texas has what is known as “zero tolerance” for people under the legal drinking age operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. With that, it is against the law for a person who is under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol whatsoever in their system. It also includes those operating watercraft. When a person is convicted, there are multiple punishments they will face. For a first offense, it will be a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. The person will also have to take part in a class for alcohol awareness; perform 20 to 40 hours of community service; and have his or her driver’s license suspended for 60 days. In addition, the person cannot receive an occupational license for the first 30 days.
For a second offense, it will be a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500. It is up to the judge as to whether there will be the requirement to attend an alcohol awareness course. There will be 40 to 60 hours of community service and a driver’s license suspension of 120 days. There can be no occupational license for the first 90 days. When there is a third offense, there can be no deferred adjudication. The driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days with no occupational license for that whole time. A person who is 17 or older will be fined between $500 and $2,000, receive a jail sentence of as much as 180 days, or both.
Considering the harshness of the penalties that will be given to a person under the age of 21 who is convicted of underage DUI, it is key to have legal assistance. Contacting an experienced attorney from the time of the arrest and having legal help all the way through the process is important and is the first call that should be made.
Source: tabc.state.tx.us, “Underage Drinking Laws,” accessed on Oct. 17, 2016
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