Texas has a zero tolerance law for DWI offenders, but it only applies to minors under the age of 21. Teens and 20-year-olds can face arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) if a breathalyzer or blood test shows they have any amount of alcohol in their system. They may also face implied consent charges if they refuse to submit a blood sample or to a breathalyzer test.
Texas Has Zero Tolerance Laws for DUI, Not DWI
The Texas zero tolerance law does not apply to all drunk drivers, but only to minors who drink and drive. Texas allows those under the age of 21 to drink when a parent or guardian provides the alcohol and is present while the minor is drinking. However, it is illegal for the minor to get behind the wheel after consuming any alcohol.
A minor can face a DUI charge if they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system during a traffic stop or after an accident. It is important to note that a minor can instead face driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in some situations.
This is at the discretion of the arresting officer anytime a minor’s blood alcohol concentration is over the legal limit for an adult. The penalties for DWI under age 21 are the same as for other offenders.
Penalties for a Zero Tolerance DUI Conviction in Texas
Texas takes alcohol- and drug-related crimes seriously, and this includes stiff drunk driving penalties for all ages. A first offense DUI under the state’s zero tolerance laws is a Class C misdemeanor charge. Possible penalties include:
- A fine of up to $500
- As many as 40 hours of community service
- An additional driver license suspension of two to six months
- Enrollment in an Alcohol Awareness Program, sometimes with a parent
If a minor gets a second DUI, it is also a Class C misdemeanor charge. The penalties may include:
- A fine of up to $500
- As many as 60 hours of community service
- An additional driver license suspension lasting four months to two years
- Enrollment in an approved Alcohol Awareness Program
Like adults who get a DWI, minors who face a DUI arrest will automatically receive an Administrative License Revocation regardless of if they are convicted of a drunk driving offense. This type of license revocation may last:
- 60 days for a first offense
- 120 days for a second offense
- 180 days for a third or subsequent offense
If the minor faces a DWI charge instead of DUI, the consequences of a conviction are even worse. For a first offense DWI, they could face:
- A fine of not more than $2,000
- Three days to six months in jail
- Loss of driver license up to a year
- Additional fees and expenses
A Texas Drunk Driving Lawyer From Eddington Worley Attorneys Can Help
If you face allegations of underage drinking in Texas, there is no reason why you need to try to fight any charges you may face on your own. At Eddington Worley Attorneys, our team of lawyers has decades of combined experience representing people of all ages in Texas DUI and DWI cases. We will develop a defense strategy based on the facts of your case and the circumstances of your arrest.
You can count on us to pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. This could include:
- Representing you in your hearing to appeal your administrative license revocation
- Investigating the facts of your case and the situation that led to your arrest
- Uncovering any evidence to show problems with the breathalyzer or blood test you took
- Identifying any ways the arresting officer broke protocol and violated your rights
- Negotiating a plea deal for a lesser charge
- Advising you of your options and the possible outcomes
- Representing you throughout the criminal justice process
- Helping you petition for an occupational license so you can drive to work or school during your suspension
Our team knows that Texas has a zero tolerance law for DWI offenders, and understands how stressful and frustrating this process can be. Let us help you navigate the steps to getting through this and getting your life back to normal.
Talk to a DUI/DWI Attorney in Texas About Your Case Today
The team of Texas DUI and DWI lawyers from Eddington Worley Attorneys can help you in your drunk driving case. Whether you fell victim to the state’s strict zero tolerance law or you received an underage DWI, you may be able to avoid the harshest penalties associated with these charges.
Call us today at 855-600-6695 to learn more about how we can help you.