They Will Get You
Through This

Attorneys Douglas Daniel and Woodrow "Woody" Halstead in courtroom

DUI penalties in Texas for underage motorists

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2023 | DUI/DWI

Texas has some of the strictest laws in the country when it comes to alcohol possession or use by anybody under 21 years of age. The state also heavily penalizes driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI/DUIA) by a minor.

A lot of people are inclined to think of teenage drinking as a rite of passage, but the law definitely won’t treat the situation that way. That’s why every parent should make sure that their young adult children understand the rules and the risks.

Penalties vary by age and frequency

This state has a zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking. The .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) limit that applies to adults doesn’t apply to those under 21. If a minor driver has any detectable alcohol in their system, as determined by a breath or blood test, they’re automatically in violation of the law.

If your teen is under 17 years of age and they’re convicted of DUI, a first offense can bring a $500 fine, between 20 and 40 hours of community service and a suspended license for up to 180 days. In addition, both the minor and their parent may have to take an Alcohol Awareness class. It’s a Class C misdemeanor.

A subsequent conviction carries similar penalties, although the number of hours of community service can increase to 60 hours and their license can be suspended for up to two years. A third conviction is treated as “Delinquent Conduct by a Minor,” which means in addition to the other penalties, your teen can be detained by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (‘juvie”).

If your young adult is between 17 and 21 years of age, they will be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) by a minor. A first offense is a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, they would face a $2,000 fine, a jail sentence between 72 hours and 180 days and a one-year license suspension. A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor, while a third offense becomes a felony, and the fines, jail time and other penalties increase significantly.

If your teen or young adult is charged with a DUI, seeking legal guidance can help you protect their future.