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Consequences of DWI for underage drivers

| Apr 23, 2021 | dwi

Motorists who are younger than 21 face serious penalties for driving while intoxicated in Texas. The state has a zero-tolerance policy, which means any amount of blood alcohol content can result in a DWI for a minor. 

Review the possible legal consequences of a DWI for teen drivers. 

The arrest

If a law enforcement officer suspects that a minor is under the influence, he or she can stop the car. If a field sobriety test detects drugs or alcohol, the officer can handcuff your teen. Next, he or she will go to jail, the police station, or a hospital for further testing and processing.  

Texas has implied consent laws that apply to all drivers regardless of age. Teens who drive agree to give a breath or blood sample if asked to give so by a law enforcement officer. Failure to do so will result in more severe penalties. 

The legal penalties

Some of the penalties for underage drivers in Texas include: 

  • Fines of $500 to $2,000 or more depending on age 
  • Community service hours 
  • Driver’s license suspension 
  • Court-ordered attendance at an alcohol education course, which the judge may also require for the driver’s parent or guardian 
  • Possible ignition interlock device for license reinstatement 
  • Jail time for some offenders ages 17 to 21 

Extenuating circumstances affect the exact legal consequences of an underage DWI conviction. The court may order more severe penalties in cases involving bodily injury, property damage, refusal to take a field sobriety test, or a history of one or more prior DWI convictions.