While adult drivers in Texas will receive a charge of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content higher than .08%, an officer can arrest an underage driver if he or she has a BAC above 0%. If your child is younger than 21 and faces a DUI charge, he or she could receive serious penalties even for a single beer.
Explore the penalties for underage DUI in Texas to prepare for your teen driver’s hearing.
DUI below .08%
If an officer arrests a teen younger than 17 with a detectable BAC of less than .08%, he or she could receive fines of up to $500, 20 to 40 mandatory community service hours and a driver’s license suspension of 60 days. Minors who receive a DUI conviction and their parents must also attend court-ordered alcohol awareness classes. These penalties increase with each subsequent underage DUI conviction.
Drivers aged 17 to 20 receive increased penalties for a first offense. These include a minimum one-year license suspension, up to $2,000 in fines and between three and 180 days in jail.
DUI above .08%
When a minor drives with BAC of .08% or higher, he or she faces increased penalties. This may include fines of up to $2,000, at least three and up to 180 days in jail, and mandatory license suspension of at least 90 days and up to a year.
Refusing a breath test
Texas has an implied consent law, which means that drivers who travel in the state agree to submit to a breath test. Minor drivers who fail to do so must remain in jail until they post bond or receive a hearing. In addition to any DUI penalties, he or she will receive a 180-day license suspension.
Texas is one of the few states with a zero-tolerance alcohol rule for teen drivers. Encourage your teen to practice safe driving habits, and set a good example with your own practices.