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Can Minors Be Charged as Adults for DWI?

In Texas, a minor can be charged as an adult for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and for a drug-related offense. This means that a minor can face the same penalties and sentencing as an adult for these types of crimes. If a minor is charged as an adult for DWI, he or she faces the following penalties for a first offense:

  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Between 72 hours and 180 days in jail
  • A 90-day to 365-day driver license suspension

It is possible that the court will allow the minor to serve probation instead of going to jail, and the court may waive the minor’s license suspension, but ONLY for a first DWI offense. If a minor is caught possessing an open container of alcohol, the minimum term of confinement (behind bars) is increased to six days.

Second DWI Offense

  • A fine not to exceed $4,000
  • 30 days to one year in jail
  • License suspended for 180 days to two years

A third DWI offense is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000, 2 to 10 years in the penitentiary, and a driver license suspension up to two years.

Non-Alcohol-Related Offenses Committed by Minors

Texas has zero tolerance for minors who possess and consume alcohol illegally. That said, the state has penalties for alcohol-related offenses that have nothing to do with driving at all. Non-driving alcohol offenses in Texas include:

  • Purchasing alcohol
  • Consuming alcohol
  • Possessing an alcoholic beverage
  • Attempting to purchase an alcoholic beverage
  • Falsely identifying oneself as 21 or older to purchase alcohol

Under Texas law, the penalty for a first non-driving alcohol-related offense or for public intoxication by a minor is: 1) a maximum $500 fine, 2) up to 40 hours’ community service, 3) 30-day driver license suspension, and 4) mandatory completion of an Alcohol Awareness Class. A first offense is also a Class C misdemeanor, which means the minor will have a criminal record.

Need a Plano DWI lawyer to defend you? Contact our firm at (888) 493-6529 today!