If you have a child who is under the age of 21 who has been arrested for DUI in Texas, it is extremely important to speak to Houston DUI lawyers as quickly as possible. The quicker your attorney is on the case, the more likely he or she will be able to minimize the eventual outcome of the case. Texas DUI laws can be frustrating to understand, but under 21 DUI charges can potentially be very serious. If the charge is DUI for drugs, the same is true—contact experienced Houston criminal lawyers immediately.
DUI vs. DWI in the State of Texas - In the state of Texas, a person of any age can be convicted of DWI in Texas if that person’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. A person of any age can also be convicted of DWI if he or she appeared to lack the “normal use of mental or physical faculties” due to ingesting an excess amount of alcohol, a legal or illegal drug, or any other substance. That being said, the state of Texas also has specific laws which apply only to underage drivers who drive after drinking alcohol or ingesting drugs. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving, meaning even the smallest amount of alcohol or drugs in a minor’s system can trigger a DUI in Texas.
In other words, there is no legal limit for a person who is under the age of 21 when it comes to drinking and driving. If there is a barely traceable amount of alcohol or drugs in the system of a person under the age of 21, then that person could be charged with DUI in Texas. If the person under the age of 21 has a BAC of 0.08 or higher, he or she could be charged with DWI in Texas instead of DUI in Texas. The penalties for DWI are considerably more severe than those for DUI, so it is in your best interests to let experienced Houston criminal defense attorneys defend your charges following your Harris County Arrest. While you would rarely spend time in Harris County jail Texas for a DUI in Texas, you could definitely spend time behind bars if you are convicted for a DWI in Texas.
Penalties for a DUI in Texas - The penalties for a DUI in Texas vary, depending on the age of the offender. If the driver is less than 17 years old, driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted of a DUI in Texas if you are under the age of 17, you could still be assessed a fine as large as $500, a minimum 60-day license suspension, and 20-40 hours of community service. Additionally, you could be required to attend an Alcohol Awareness Course. Your parents could also be required to attend the course as well.
If you are between the ages of 17 and 20, driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a Class B misdemeanor. Your penalties will be determined in part by whether you have any prior infractions as an underage driver. A conviction of DUI in Texas for a driver between the ages of 17 and 20 who has prior convictions could result in fines as high as $2,000, jail time from 72 hours to 180 days, and a minimum one-year driver’s license suspension. When coupled with community supervision and the use of an ignition interlock device, the driver’s license suspension could be reduced to 90 days. Community service could be upped to 40-60 hours and you could be required to attend an Alcohol Awareness Course.
Alternatives to Prosecution for DUI in Texas - There are certain alternatives to prosecution which are available to underage offenders charged with DUI in Texas, however these alternatives are regulated from county to county and are primarily reserved for low-risk offenders whom the judge feels would benefit from rehabilitation rather than a more punitive approach. If you have two or more juvenile DWI offenses, you likely will not be eligible for these alternatives to prosecution. Deferred prosecution is reserved for Class A or Class B misdemeanors, and low-risk, first-time offenders. Deferred prosecution may involve restitution, community service and counseling.
Teen court, is for those who are charged with a Class C misdemeanor. Teen court is a voluntary program which requires involvement in the judicial process as well as community service, and once your participation in the program is complete, the citation will be dismissed. It is also important to remember that under the implied consent laws of Texas, underage drivers who are lawfully arrested for DUI must submit to blood or breath BAC chemical testing. Underage drivers who refuse BAC testing can be placed in jail until they either post a bond or appear before a judge in juvenile court. Further, a refusal to undergo BAC testing will result in a license suspension of 180 days, or, if the driver is unlicensed, a delay in obtaining a driver’s license.
Getting Help from Houston DUI Lawyers - Whether you are charged with DWI or DUI, it is important to speak to knowledgeable Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense lawyers. You can take advantage of our Houston criminal defense lawyers with payment plans, while our highly experienced Houston DUI attorneys work hard on your behalf to minimize the possibility of Harris County jail Texas. We will deal directly with the Harris County district attorney, negotiating on your behalf for the minimum amount of serious penalties. If you are eligible, we will seek out alternatives to prosecution, allowing you to avoid jail time or high fines, and potentially even have your record expunged eventually, so you will not have to deal with the adverse effects of Harris County criminal records. The Sullo & Sullo Houston DUI attorneys have been helping those who find themselves in the same situation for many years. We understand that good people can make one bad decision, and that bad decision should not follow you for the remainder of your life. If you are facing a DUI in Texas, do not try to decipher the Texas DUI laws on your own—contact knowledgeable Houston criminal defense lawyers today.