If your child has just been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs, they may face criminal charges. Depending on their age, the severity of the charge may vary.

Texas has a zero-tolerance policy. This means that any child under the age of 21 Is not permitted to have any alcohol in their system. The 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) driving limit does not apply to minors because it is illegal for them to consume any alcohol.

The severity of the charge will depend on your child’s age and the number of DWI offenses they have.

If your child is under 17 years of age, they will most likely be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA by a Minor). This is a Class C Misdemeanor and first offense consequences include:

  • 20-40 hours of community service
  • A fine up to $500
  • Driver’s license suspension for 60-180 days
  • Must attend an alcohol awareness course (in most cases parent must also attend)

If your child is between 17 and 21 years old, they will be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor on their first offense. DWI by a Minor consequences include:

  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
  • A fine up to $2,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for one year
  • Must attend an alcohol awareness class

If your child is over the age of 21 and has a BAC that exceeds the 0.08% limit, they will be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor on their first offense and face the same consequences all adults face. These consequences include:

  • Three days to 180 days in jail
  • A fine up to $2,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for one year
  • Annual fee of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years

No matter your child’s age, you may want to protect them and minimize the consequences they face. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you and your child navigate through the process. Your child will need an attorney to represent them in court. With legal counsel, your child may be able to contest the charges or reduce the penalties they face.