A Comprehensive Guide to the Underage Drunk Driving Laws in Texas
Texas takes drunk driving very seriously. A DUI is a serious criminal offense that can lead to the loss of a driver’s license and even jail time. For underage drivers (15 to 21), the DUI laws are even more strict. As explained by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the state has a strict “_zero tolerance_” drunk driving law for minors.
All the state’s standard DUI laws apply to minors. In addition, a driver under the age of 21 could be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA Minor) if there is any detectable alcohol in their system. Our Fort Worth DUI defense lawyer provides a comprehensive guide to underage drunk driving charges in Texas.
Texas Drunk Driving Law: Zero Tolerance for Minors
As a starting point, it is important to clarify that for the purposes of Texas drunk driving laws, a minor is any person who is under the age of 21. While 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds are legal adults, they are “minors” for the purposes of the state’s intoxicated driving statute. For most motorists (21+), the legal alcohol limit is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. However, that standard does not apply to minors. In Texas, an underage driver can be arrested and charged with a criminal DUI Minor offense if there is an any amount of alcohol in their system,
An Overview Penalties for Underage Drunk Driving in Texas
An underage DUI is a serious offense in Texas. The penalties that a minor driver face will depend, in part, on their age at the time of the offense. Here is an overview of the penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA Minor) in Texas:
- Driver Under the Age of 17: A driver under the age of 17 who is arrested for DUIA Minor can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. The offense carries a $500 fine, a maximum 180 license suspension, up to 40 hours of community service, and the potential for mandatory alcohol education for both the underage driver and their parents.
- Driver 17 to 20: The penalties are more severe for drivers between the ages of 17 and 20. A driver in this age range who is arrested and charged with DUIA Minor can face a Class B Misdemeanor that carries a $2,000 fine, a one-year license suspension, up to 180 days in jail, and an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle at their cost.
Every underage drunk driving case is different. An underage driver has the right to defend themselves against the charges. Our Fort Worth DUI defense lawyer will review your case and help you determine the best course of action to protect your rights.
Contact Our Fort Worth Underage DUI Defense Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth DUI defense lawyer has the professional skills and legal expertise to defend underage drunk driving charges. If you or your teenager was arrested for an underage DUI, we can help. Call us now or contact us online to arrange your fully confidential initial case evaluation. From our Fort Worth law office, we handle DUI charges throughout North Texas, including in Arlington, Grand Prairie, Flower Mound, Mansfield, and Grapevine.