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What Are the Consequences of Underage Drinking and Driving in Texas?

Posted on in DWI

Collin County criminal defense attorney underage DWI

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is treated as a serious criminal offense for Texans of any age, but underage drinkers are subject to even more stringent penalties. Texas not only has separate laws for driving under the influence (DUI) that apply to drivers under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol in their system, but several other underage drinking offenses can also result in the loss of driving privileges. If you or your child has been arrested on an underage drinking charge, you should know about the potential legal consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and driving privileges.

Texas Underage Drinking Laws

In Texas, underage drivers can be arrested for DUI if they have consumed any alcohol before driving. A police officer can make an arrest based on a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, even one with a result below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, or based on smelling alcohol on the driver’s breath. Texas law also prohibits someone under the age of 21 from purchasing, possessing, and consuming alcohol in most situations, as well as being drunk in public. A person arrested for the first time for any of these offenses may face Class C misdemeanor charges.

Penalties for Underage Drinking in Texas

Underage drinkers who are charged with a Class C misdemeanor can face a variety of consequences regardless of whether their offense involved driving under the influence, including:

  • Fines of up to $500

  • Community service of up to 40 hours

  • Loss of driver’s license for up to 180 days

  • Required participation in an alcohol awareness class

First-time underage drinking offenders who comply with the court’s orders may be eligible for deferred adjudication or expunction, meaning that a conviction for the offense will not appear on their criminal record. On the other hand, repeat offenders or underage drinkers who are charged with additional crimes can face much more severe penalties. For example, if underage drivers are found to have a BAC above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, they can also be charged with DWI, and if they cause an accident resulting in the injury or death of another driver, they can face felony charges with sentences including steep fines and prison time.

Contact a Frisco DUI Defense Attorney Today

Underage drinking and driving should not be taken lightly, but it also does not have to ruin an offender’s life. Anyone who has been arrested for underage drinking can benefit from the services of a skilled criminal law attorney who can present a strong case for reduced charges and sentencing or expunction. At the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C., we stand up for the rights of our underage clients to ensure a fair outcome. Call our qualified Collin County criminal defense lawyers today at 469-333-3333 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.

 

Sources:

https://www.tabc.state.tx.us/laws/underage_drinking_laws.asp

https://www.txcourts.gov/media/662319/OCA-Written-Testimony-Expunctions-and-Non-Disclosure.pdf

 

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