It’s illegal to drink and drive in Texas, especially when you’re not old enough to drink. Although people legally become adults when they reach 18 years of age, it’s not until 21 that they can legally purchase and consume alcohol.
When someone younger than 21 allegedly drinks any amount of alcohol and drives, this is referred to as underage DUI. People tend to have many questions when they or a loved one are charged with underage DUI. Consult with an attorney to learn more about your unique legal situation.
What’s the Difference Between DUI & DWI?
The difference between DUI and DWI is that the former is a traffic code violation and the latter is considered a crime. While other states may only refer to DUI (driving under the influence), Texas draws a legal distinction between this term and DWI (driving while intoxicated).
Under the Texas traffic code, it’s illegal for someone younger than 21 years of age to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. If a driver is younger than 21 and has a BAC somewhere between 0% and 0.08%, they may be cited for DUI.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Texas?
Bearing in mind that a DUI in Texas isn’t the same as DWI, the former is penalized as a traffic infraction for minors who have any amount of alcohol in their system.
A DUI may be penalized with a fine of up to $500, up to 40 hours of community service, and mandatory participation in an alcohol awareness class. The driver’s license will also be suspended for up to 60 days, but they will not face jail time.
What Are the Penalties for DWI in Texas?
DWI is a criminal offense in Texas, so its penalties are more severe. A first conviction for DWI in Texas can result in a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail, plus a yearlong driver’s license suspension.
Although only those younger than 21 can be charged with DUI, underage drivers may also be charged with DUI if their BAC exceeds 0.08%, which is the legal limit for all drivers in Texas.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one is younger than 21 and charged with DUI or DWI, it’s important to seek legal assistance immediately. The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC can provide the support you need to keep the door to the best possible future open. It’s possible to reduce or even beat your charges, but only when you seek assistance from an experienced lawyer.