What Happens if You Are Under 21 and Get a DUI?

    Anyone getting a driving under the influence (DUI) traffic ticket is in big trouble. Texas deals with this offense with a strong hand. Law officials impose strong punishments to violators younger than 21 years of age. These punishments can stay on the perpetrator’s record for years and negatively impact his or her future.

    Texas Laws Regarding Under Age 21 DUIs

    Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code states that legal intoxication is having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Law officials use this number to determine the level of intoxication in drivers. 

    For drivers younger than 21 years of age, Texas applies other regulations. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code (TABC) states that a young driver does not have to be blatantly intoxicated to be in violation of the law. Any alcohol at all in their system is considered illegal.  

    Under Age DUI Versus DWI

    Texas law makes a distinction between a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge from a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. 

    Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

    Texas authorities consider you intoxicated if your BAC is 0.08 or higher — regardless of age. Traffic officials run chemical tests to determine the intensity of your intoxication. These chemical evaluations include blood, urine, or breath tests.

    If given a DWI, the law can fine you up to $2,000 or sentence you to 6 months in jail. Also, the department of motor vehicles will suspend your driver’s license. The offense will be a permanent stain on your record.

    Driving Under The Influence (DUI)

    Texas law can give an individual who is under the age of 21 a DUI citation. When authorities find a minor with detectable alcohol in his or her system, the officer can charge them with a DUI that the law considers a Class C misdemeanor.

    Penalties for an Under Age DUI Conviction

    In Fort Worth, penalties for a minor DUI driver can include the following:

    First Offense:

    • A $500 fine
    • Twenty to forty hours of community service
    • Required attendance at an approved alcohol awareness program
    • Driver’s license suspension for 60 days

    Second Offense:

    • A $500 fine
    • Forty to sixty hours of community service
    • Required attendance at an approved alcohol awareness program
    • Driver’s license suspension for 120 days 

    Third Offense:

    • Fines of up to $2,000
    • Driver’s license suspension of 180 days
    • One hundred eighty days of jail time

    When an individual is applying for a job, seeking acceptance into a school, or applying for a certain license or membership of an organization, a DUI on their record can negatively influence decisions.

    If you have a DUI on your record, it could be worth it to look into a DUI lawyer to see how they can help you.