You likely trust your teen to make responsible choices, so it may come as a shock to learn that he or she has been drinking. It is even worse if you find out after law enforcement arrests your teen for drinking and driving.
Unlike adults, drivers in Texas who are 17 to 20 years old are not subject to the legal limit of a blood alcohol content of 0.08%. If law enforcement pulls your teen over and he or she has a BAC of even 0.01%, the zero tolerance law states the teen is guilty of underage drinking and driving.
What penalties is your teen facing? The answer depends on how much alcohol is in his or her system.
If the BAC is below 0.08%
Your teen will lose his or her driver’s license for 60 days, and the fine may be as high as $500. These penalties are definitely punitive, but the other consequences may result in an opportunity for growth for your teen. The judge will order him or her to perform between 20 and 40 hours of community service, and your teen will also have to attend alcohol-awareness classes.
If the BAC is 0.08% or higher
The fine goes up to a maximum of $2,000, and the driver’s license suspension will last for a minimum of 90 days and, at most, a year. Not only that, your teen will spend between three and 180 days in jail, depending on the circumstances.
While you may not want to excuse your teen from penalties for the behavior, seeking a defense strategy to lessen the legal consequences may be a good idea. After that, you can still hold your teen to the same standard if you choose, by taking away driving privileges, charging a financial penalty, and signing your teen up for community service and alcohol-awareness classes.