What Happens if Your Teenager Gets Arrested for a DUI in Texas?
The laws for drinking and driving are different for minors than they are for adults. In fact, while an adult 21 years of age and older is only over the legal limit–and thereby committing a crime–when their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is .08 percent or above and they’re driving, a minor is not permitted to have any amount of alcohol in their blood while operating a motor vehicle.
The laws for drinking and driving are different for minors than they are for adults. In fact, an adult 21 years of age and older is permited to consume alcohol and drive as long as they are not intoxicated or “over the legal limit. In Texas, the legal limit is .08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration). A minor is not permitted to have any amount of alcohol in their blood while operating a motor vehicle. Thus, as a minor you can legal consume alcohol with your parents or guardian, but a minor cannot then drive a car.
At the offices of Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, our DUI attorneys know that as a parent, if your teenager gets arrested for a DUI in Texas, you may be in a panic about what will happen next. Our law firm will provide you with the legal representation your family can count on, and help you to understand how the process may unfold and what your teenager’s options are.
Tough Laws for Teenagers and Alcohol-Related Crimes
The frest thing to figure out if your child is arrested or taken to the police station is whether they were charged as a minor for DUI or as an adult being intoxicated as DWI. Since DUI applies to minors with ANY detectiable amount of alcohol who were driving, if the officer suspects the minor to be intoxicated on alcohol or drugs or a combination or aclohol and drugs, the officer can charge the minor with DWI.
A first offense DWI (called DUI – Driving While Intoxicated – in Texas) is a Class B misdemeanor that is punishable by:
- A fine of up to $2,000;
- Jail time of between 72 hours and 180 days; and
- Driver’s license suspension of between 90 and 365 days.
The above penalties are for adults convicted of a DWI. Of course, the offense will also go on your teenager’s record, which may make it more difficult for them to secure employment in the future, or even be admitted into the college of their choice. You can also count on your insurance premiums increasing.
Second, third, and subsequent offenses are punished more harshly. If your teen is facing a subsequent DUI/DWI charge, you should contact an attorney immediately.
If your teen is not charged with being intoxicated, the penalties are different. For a teen under the age of 21, a first offense will be penalized by a fine of up to $500, 20 to 40 hours of community service, a suspension of their driver’s license for up to two years, and mandatory attendance in an alcohol awareness class.
What Happens Next?
After your child is arrested and charged with a DUI/DWI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor), the criminal process will begin. Your teen will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them, and build a case to defend themselves against charges. Our attorneys can help by requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to conduct an ALR (Administrive License Review hearing) to contest whether or not the arresting officer had probable cause to stop and arrest your teen in the first place, by negating the results of a blood or breath alcohol test, or by negotiating with the prosecution to reach a plea bargain that potentially results in having charges or sentencing reduced.
Contact Our Law Offices Today
We know what you are going through, and how scary having your teen charged with a DUI offense can be. To learn more about how we can help, contact our Texas DUI attorneys today for an initial consultation.