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Penalties for Underage DWI in Texas

Are you under the age of 21? Or, are you a parent who has a son or daughter who is under 21, the legal drinking age? If your answer is “Yes” to either question, you’ll be interested in learning about Texas’ laws as they pertain to underage drinking and driving while intoxicated (DWI). Read on to get your questions answered.

For starters, let’s take a look at the state’s alcohol possession laws: According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), minors (under the age of 21) who are found to be in possession of alcohol face the following penalties:

  • A maximum fine of $500
  • Up to 180-day driver’s license suspension
  • Up to 40 hours of community service
  • Must take an alcohol awareness class

How much alcohol does it take to trigger the above penalties? “Any amount of beer, wine or liquor can trigger these penalties,” says TxDOT. Second and third alcohol possession offenses lead to enhanced penalties.

Underage DWI in Texas

Under Texas law, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Meaning, underage drinkers can be arrested for DWI after having just one alcoholic drink. A first-time underage DWI is punishable by:

  • A maximum fine of $500
  • 60-day driver’s license suspension
  • Up to 40 hours of community service
  • Must take a mandatory alcohol awareness class

If you are between the ages of 17 and 20 and you’re arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher, you face higher penalties, including:

  • A maximum fine of $2,000
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • 90 days to one year driver’s license suspension

“Get caught drinking and driving a second or third time, and the penalties increase. That’s called zero tolerance. It means zero alcohol. And that’s the law in Texas,” says TxDOT.

Facing underage DWI charges in Plano or Dallas? Contact us today!

Categories: DWI, Underage Drinking