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Drunk Driving in Texas - Minors with a low Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Tailgate party at Javelina football game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]Tailgate party at Javelina football game[/caption] Over the last several years states have implemented more severe drunk driving penalties for drivers. For example, it is illegal in all states for drivers over the age of 21 to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08%. Drunk driving laws for minors, however, are even more severe. Did you know that most states have also implemented what they call “zero tolerance laws” which means that minors may be charged with DUI or DWI if their blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) is 0.02% or higher.

What penalties can a minor expect for drunk driving in Texas?

  If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Texas and you are under the age of 21 you can face the following DUI penalties if your blood alcohol concentration ranges from .01 and .08:
  • Your license may be suspended for up to 60 days
  • You may have to pay a fine up to $500
  • You may have to perform 20 to 40 hours of community service.
Minor drivers can be charged with more severe DWI penalties if their blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08%. These penalties can include:
  • Your driver’s license may be suspended for 90 days to 1 year
  • You may have to pay a fine up to $2,000
  • You may spend 72 hours – 180 days in jail

I was drinking but I was not driving. Can I still face criminal charges?

  Many minors are arrested for drinking, although they are not operating a motorized vehicle. It is against the law in Texas for a minor to be in possession of alcohol. Possession includes holding, transporting, purchasing or drinking an alcoholic beverage. A minor in possession or MIP is considered a Class C misdemeanor. If you are arrested for a minor in possession charge in Texas you might face the following MIP charges:
  • Required fine of $250 – $2,000
  • Mandatory jail stay up to 180 days
  • Required community service for 8 – 12 hours of community service
  • Mandatory Driver’s license suspension up to 30 days
A lot of Texas minors also get into trouble when they are riding in a car where alcohol is present, even if they are not consuming it. For instance, a minor may be charged with possession if the officer finds alcohol stored in the car and it is “readily available” for consumption.

Hiring a DWI lawyer after a minor drunk driving arrest

  The most common penalty for a drunk driving charge for a minor is a license suspension. An administrative license suspension from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles can occur immediately after a DWI arrest and can be imposed even if the minor is not ultimately charged with a DUI or DWI. If the minor is convicted of drunk driving they will also face criminal drunk driving charges. Talk to a Texas drunk driving lawyer for more information.  
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