It’s no secret that Texas has some of the toughest laws and penalties in the nation, and the laws that apply to minors are no exception. Under Texas law, minors can be charged as adults if they commit drug or alcohol-related offenses.
Is a minor someone under the age of 18? No – Texas defines minors as people who are under the age of 21, thus Texas underage drinking laws apply to anyone who is 20 or younger.
Since Texas has a significant problem with drunk driving, the state enacted “zero tolerance” laws for minors who commit various alcohol-related offenses, including: drunk driving, trying to purchase alcohol, purchasing alcohol, falsely identifying oneself as over 21, possessing alcohol, consuming alcohol, and public intoxication.
If a minor commits any of the above alcohol-related crimes, the first offense is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500, up to 12 hours of community service, an alcohol awareness course, and a 30 day driver’s license suspension. For each subsequent offense, the penalties increase.
Minors Facing Adult DWI Charges
A minor can face the SAME penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) as someone who is 21 or older. If a minor is charged with DWI as an adult, he or she faces the following penalties:
- A first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor offense
- Up to $2,000 fine
- 72 hours to 180 days in jail
- 90 days to 1 year driver’s license suspension
Of course, the penalties for any subsequent DWI offenses increase. A second DWI is charged as a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, up to one year in jail, and up to two years’ driver’s license suspension.
Note: If an adult purchases or furnishes alcohol to a minor, he or she can face criminal charges under Texas law. The penalties for purchasing or supplying alcohol to someone who is under 21 include, up to a $2,000 fine, and/or up to 80 days in jail. If an adult sells alcohol to a minor, he or she faces up to a $4,000 fine and/or up to 12 months in jail.
If you, or someone you love is facing drug or alcohol-related charges involving a minor, contact the Plano criminal defense attorneys at Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC!