I am a experienced DWI attorney serving clients in Rockwall, Kaufman, Hunt, Collin & Dallas Counties. I regularly get panicked calls from parents whose child has been charged with an alcohol related driving offense wanting to know what are penalties for minors charged with drinking & driving In Texas.
The “Save a Life” Web site maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation contains information regarding the penalties and charges that could be applied to an under-aged drinker suspected of drunk driving. That information should be sufficient to deter anyone under 21 years of age from drinking and driving. Unfortunately, education does not always work and 112 DWI drivers younger than 21 years old were involved in a fatal car crash in Texas in 2008.
The message from the state of Texas to minors regarding drinking alcohol is clear: “Under 21? Don’t even think about it.” As explained in the Texas Drivers Handbook since a minor cannot legally possess an alcoholic beverage, the Texas Legislature established “zero tolerance” laws for minors who commit offenses under the non-driving alcohol-related laws as well as for minors who drive under the influence.
Fines and Penalties for Minors Charged With Drinking & Driving
Under Zero Tolerance laws minors cannot buy, consume or be in possession of an alcoholic beverage. Attempting to buy alcohol is an offense under this policy. If you are charged with any crime under the Zero Tolerance bill “you’ll face fines, lose your license, get community service and spend up to 40 hours in mandatory alcohol awareness classes. “
If a minor has any detectable amount of alcohol in his system while operating a motor vehicle in a public place the minor driver can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor. Following are the ranges of penalties for DUI offenses for minors:
1st Offense DUI by a Minor 17 years of age or older but less than 21 – Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.00; not less than 20 nor more than 40 hours of community service; mandatory attendance in an Alcohol Awareness Course; driver’s license suspension for 120 days.
2nd Offense DUI by a Minor 17 years of age or older but less than 21 – Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.00; not less than 40 nor more than 60 hours of community service; attendance in an Alcohol Awareness Course may be required.
3rd Offense DUI by a Minor 17 years of age or older but less than 21 – Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine not less than $500.00 or more than $2,000.00; not less than 40 nor more than 60 hours of community service, and/or confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days.
I am a experienced DWI attorney serving clients in Rockwall, Kaufman, Hunt, Collin & Dallas Counties. If you have questions, concerns or been charged with a DUI, call me today. There is no charge for the initial consultation.
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