Make Sure Your Texas Teen Understands the Consequences of Underage Drinking and Driving

Too many teens in the Dallas area and across the United States choose to consume alcohol. All too often, these teens do not realize the severe consequences that they could face if charged with underage consumption. As a parent, one of the best ways to discourage your teen from drinking is to educate him or her on the law. Many teens think that because they are “only teens” that the biggest punishment they could face is if their parents found out they had been drinking. Some teens do not even realize that they could be arrested and placed in jail for underage drinking and driving. Teens need to be made aware of how drinking (or drinking and driving) can affect their lives and their future, so they can make better choices. The following are a few of the consequences of underage drinking:

Underage drinking

A minor (a person under the age of 21 years of age) who is found to be in possession of alcohol, or has consumed any amount alcohol, or attempts to purchase alcohol can be found and charged with a Class C misdemeanor. He or she will also face the following penalties:

  • Fines up to $500;
  • Mandatory attendance at an alcohol awareness class;
  • Serve between 8 and 40 hours of community service; and/or
  • Loss or denial of driver’s license for between 30 and 180 days.

If the minor is 17 years of age or older at the time of the arrest, he or she can face fines up to $2,000 and jail time is also possible for a third offense.

Zero tolerance driving under the influence (DUI)

In the State of Texas, it is against the law for a minor to operate a motor vehicle if he or she has any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system. This means that a minor cannot consume any beer, wine or liquor and drive a car, even if he or she is not intoxicated. A teen who has consumed alcohol and drives can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and faces the following consequences for a first time offense:

  • Fines up to $500.00;
  • Serve between 20 and 40 hours of community service; and/or
  • Driver’s license suspension of up to 60 days.

This law not only prohibits a minor from driving a vehicle under the influence, but also a watercraft.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI)

If any person is found to be driving while intoxicated, which is typically measured by a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, he or she can be charged with DWI. In Texas, a DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor, and the person faces the following penalties:

  • Fines up to $2,000;
  • Loss of driver’s license for between 90 days and 1 year; and/or
  • Jail time between 3 and 180 days.

Talk to your teenager and make sure that he or she understands the state’s zero tolerance policy.  Have the talk often and remind your teen to never get into a car with anyone who has been drinking.

If you receive a phone call that your teenager has been arrested for underage drinking or driving under the influence, it is important not to panic. The first and most important thing you need to do to help your child in this situation is to schedule an appointment to speak with an experienced Texas DUI/DWI Defense Attorney.  Only a seasoned DUI/DWI Defense Attorney can make sure that you understand the charges against your child and that he or she has an aggressive advocate on his or her side. With more than 30 years of experience, attorney Jack Pettit is the attorney you need if facing DUI/DWI charges. Mr. Pettit represents clients both in Dallas and throughout Dallas County. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call our office today at (214) 521-4567.

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