Everyone makes errors in judgement. When you are young, mistakes occur more frequently. However, some mistakes have more severe consequences than others.
After an underage DWI arrest, you may worry your son or daughter ruined his or her future. Try not to panic. Here is what you should know about DWI penalties for minors in Texas.
Zero tolerance for minors
For minors arrested for alcohol related crimes, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy. Any amount of alcohol is considered over the legal limit. An underage person does not need to be over .08 BAC to be arrested for DWI.
For alcohol related offenses, a minor is anyone under the age of 21. However, people under the age of 17 who are arrested for DWI face different penalties.
There is also implied consent for minors arrested for DWI. If pulled over on suspicion of DWI, implied consent means a minor must submit to a blood or alcohol test. An underage person who refuses to submit automatically loses his or her license for 180 days the first time. A second refusal causes a minor to lose his or her license for two years. Refusal to take a breath or blood test may also land an underage person in jail.
For someone who is 17 but younger than 21, a first time DWI conviction can result in fines up to $2,000. A minor may also receive jail time for 72 hours up to 180 days and a license suspension for up to a year. The license suspension can be reduced, if the court agrees to community supervision and the installation of ignition interlock device.
If your child is convicted, his or her insurance rates will increase. An insurance carrier could also drop your coverage. A DWI conviction is a misdemeanor, which will remain on your son or daughter’s record.
An arrest does not have to ruin a minor’s life
An arrest for an underage DWI does not have to end in a conviction or even the loss of your child’s license. You can request a license hearing in front an administrative law judge within 15 days after a DWI arrest. You can argue against a license suspension at the hearing. A criminal defense attorney may argue there was not probable cause to stop your child, or an alcohol test was administered incorrectly.
An experienced attorney may also get evidence thrown out of a criminal proceeding. They could also negotiate for reduced charges. Remember, you have options. A DWI arrest does not have to ruin your son or daughter’s future.