If You Are A Minor, What Are the Penalties for DUI in Houston?

drunk panda on the streets

The Houston area has been classified as the deadliest for drivers in the country. An estimated 640 people die on roads in Houston and the surrounding area each year, and almost 3,000 end up seriously injured.

Drunk driving accounts for a large percentage of car crashes in the Houston area. An average week in Houston can see up to 11 fatal wrecks due to drunk drivers. According to the Houston Chronicle, almost half of Harris County probationers – around 13,000 people – were on supervision in 2013 for misdemeanor driving-while-intoxicated conviction.

The number of drunk driving incidents rises during holidays such as the 4th of July and the law enforcement agents enforce stricter measures including for traffic violations and No Refusal Weekend around this time.

black vehicle on road

Drunk Driving Laws in Texas

In Texas, the official term for drunk driving is “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). Under Texas DWI laws, any adult driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more will be considered intoxicated and can be charged. The blood alcohol concentration can differ for the same amount of alcohol consumption according to body size and gender.

Many people still use DUI to refer to any adult driving while drunk or drugged. But DUI (also known as DUIA, Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol) only applies to minors under the age of 21. Texas also has a special zero-tolerance law for drivers who are under the influence and under the age of 21. An underage driver doesn’t have to legally drunk to be arrested for DWI and they can be convicted of a DUI for any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, even if it is less than 0.08%.

DUI Penalties for Drivers Under 17 Years of Age

The penalties for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction can vary according to the age of the driver. For minors under the age of 17, a DUI is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. For a first-time offense, the penalty can include a fine up to $500, 20 to 40 hours of community services, license suspension of at least 60 days or more, and mandatory attendance of an “Alcohol Awareness Course” for the minor and in some cases the responsible parent.

drunk driving accident

DUI Penalty for Minors Between Ages 17 and 20 Years

For a driver between the age of 17 and 20 years old arrested for DUI, the charge would be classified as a Class B misdemeanor. The conviction can carry more severe penalties, including a fine of up to $2,000, a minimum one-year suspension of their license, and possible jail time from 3 to 180 days for a first-time offense. The severity of the sentence can depend on the age of the minor as well as any prior infractions. The suspension of the license can be reduced if the minor agrees to the use of an ignition interlock device and community supervision.

Talk to An Experienced DUI Lawyer from The Greater Houston Area

The laws regarding DUI and DUIA for minors in Texas can be complicated and tricky. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney who knows the system helps you or your child guard their rights and their future. Because when a minor has a DUI or DWI on his or her record, it can affect his or her future job prospects, the countries they travel to, auto insurance rates, and the universities that they are accepted into. Their future depends on mounting a strong, aggressive defense.

Get in touch with The Law Office of J.L. Carpenter and let us help you protect your rights, freedom, and driving privileges for any drunk driving offense you may have in Friendswood and Clear Lake.