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Are drunk driving charges different for people under 21?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2023 | Drunk Driving

For anyone in Texas, being arrested for drunk driving can be a worrisome experience. In addition to the possibility of jail time, fines and lost driving privileges, it can negatively impact their employment and other objectives in life.

For people under 21, it can be even more problematic. When there is an accusation of underage drinking and driving, it is imperative to know the law, the potential penalties and to have a comprehensive strategy to try and reach a positive result.

How is underage drinking and driving handled in Texas?

In Texas, people under 21 can face various consequences for drinking and driving. A minor who simply has alcohol in their possession could be fined as much as $500, have their driver’s license suspended for between one and six months, need to perform between eight and 40 hours of community service and take alcohol awareness classes.

It does not matter how much alcohol they had in their possession. If they are convicted once and subsequently caught with alcohol again before they turn 21, the penalties are enhanced. The suspension could extend to between two to six months. If it is a third offense and the person is at least 17, they could be fined up to $2,000 and be jailed for up to 180 days.

Driving with any alcohol in the system while younger than 21 will also result in significant penalties. The fine can be up to $500; there can be a 60-day suspension of driving privileges; community service can be required for 20 to 40 hours; and there may be the alcohol classes. Those who are at least 17 and register 0.08 blood alcohol concentration could be fined $2,000, go to jail for three days to six months, and lose their driver’s license for six months.

Parents and others who might have supplied the alcohol to the underage person are not immune to facing punishment for their alleged role. This can result in a fine of $4,000 and being incarcerated for a year.

Legal representation may help with an underage drunk driving charge

Young people who are out with friends, going to parties or at college might consume alcohol. Despite the frequency of this happening, they could face legal problems whether it is simply possessing alcohol or being accused of drunk driving.

Despite the concerns and fear that their future will be negatively impacted, there are options to fight the charges. Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for the incident. They could have the chance to reduce the charges or have treatment in lieu of punishment. No matter the situation, it is imperative to have professional assistance to assess the case and move forward.