It’s never a good idea to drink and drive, but young people often make foolish decisions. In Texas, however, the laws are particularly fierce when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor (DUIA by a Minor).
For the purposes of the law, a “minor” is anybody who is under the legal drinking age of 21. If your child is not old enough to legally buy a beer, they fall under the state’s “zero-tolerance” policy. That means any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can lead to an arrest – so a half a beer or a glass of wine with dinner is enough to do it.
What happens next?
If your child is suspected of DUIA by a Minor, they will probably be asked for a breath, blood or urine test to confirm the presence of alcohol.
Refusal is a violation of the state’s implied consent rules that allow your child to have a driver’s license in the first place, so their license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. If they submit to the chemical testing and alcohol is detected in their system, they face a 60-day license suspension for a first offense.
If they’re convicted of the charges, what happens next depends partially on their age. If your child is under 21 years of age, the offense is a Class C misdemeanor. As long as this is their first offense, they face a fine of up to $500, up to 40 hours of community service and the potential of a license suspension for 180 days.
In addition to these penalties, your child will also be left with court fees, the increased cost of finding alternative transportation, increased insurance costs once they get their license back and a criminal record that could affect how they are perceived in the future or lead to increased penalties over a subsequent offense.
If your child made a mistake, you can deal with it at home. In court, they need an experienced defense to protect their future.