In Texas, the offense of driving while intoxicated is covered under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Sec. 49.04(a) it reads, “A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”
Under Sec. 49.01(2)(a) of the Penal Code, “intoxicated” means to “not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” Intoxicated also means to have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more.
Like other states, Texas handles DWI differently when it’s committed by an adult (someone age 21 or older) vs. when it’s committed by a minor (someone under 21-years-of-age). As a general rule, the DWI laws are stricter for minors. So, for the purposes of this post, we’re going to take a look at how Texas treats a DWI committed by a minor.
When a Minor Commits DWI
Even though someone is legally an adult when they turn 18, they are not considered an adult until they are 21 when it comes to alcohol-related offenses. This is because Texas’ alcohol laws consider anyone under 21 to be a minor.
If a minor is convicted of DWI in Texas, he or she will face the following:
- If they fail to complete an Alcohol Education Program, their driver license will be suspended for 180 days (six months).
- If the minor is convicted of DWI a second or subsequent time, their driver license will be suspended for 18 months.
In some cases, minors who commit DWI may have their driver license suspended for only 90 days (3 months) if a judge orders them to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) and perform community service. If an IID is ordered, the minor will have to receive a special driver license.
Other Alcohol Offenses Involving Minors
If a minor is convicted of any of the following alcohol offenses, their driver license will be suspended for 30 days upon a first offense, 60 days for a second offense, and 180 days for a third offense.
- Purchasing alcohol
- Attempting to buy alcohol
- Consuming alcohol
- Possessing alcohol
- Being intoxicated in public
- Lying about their age to purchase alcohol
Related: FAQs About Texas DWI
If you are facing underage DWI charges, or if you’re a parent whose son or daughter is in trouble for an alcohol-related offense, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC immediately to schedule an initial case evaluation.