San Antonio Underage DWI Lawyer
Are you or a loved one facing underage DWI charges in TX?
In Texas, the drinking age is 21 years old and individuals under 21 cannot legally drink unless they have consent of a legal guardian on alcohol selling premises or on private, non-alcohol-selling premises. It is never legal; however, for a person under 21 to operate a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. Texas is a zero tolerance state when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Many states allow a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .02% for drivers under 21, but in Texas underage drivers cannot have a BAC above .00%. As a minor, if you have "any detectable amount of alcohol in your system" and are operating a vehicle, you can be cited for a DUI. If you have been cited for driving under the influence and are under age 21, you need an aggressive defense on your side. Speak with a San Antonio criminal defense attorney from The Law Office of John J. Fox about your case and the steps you need to take.
Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving
The state of Texas created a distinction between DWI, Driving While Intoxicated, and DUI, Driving Under the Influence. While many states use DUI to charge any offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol, Texas only uses DUI for underage offenses. If you are under 21, you may be charged with a DUI, which is a Class C misdemeanor offense punishable by a license suspension of 60 days and a possible fine of up to $500. This is a less serious offense than DWI, if you have been charged with DWI for the first time you may be facing a jail sentence between three and 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000 and a license suspension for 90 days. If you are facing your second drunk driving offense within 10 years of the first, you are at risk of a one year jail sentence, a fine of up to $4,000 and a license suspension between three days and one year.
As an underage driver charged with DUI or DWI, you could be facing other charges. On top of your DUI/DWI charges, if you committed any of the following offenses you could be at risk of other penalties:
- Possession of a false identification if you use a fake I.D. to purchase the alcohol
- Possession of alcohol if you still have alcohol in your car
- Soliciting alcohol
- Distributing alcohol to other minors if you have other drunk passengers under 21
- Child endangerment law violations
Will I lose my insurance after this offense?
Depending on your insurance company, your policy could be terminated after receiving an underage DUI/DWI. Some may not terminate it, but may not renew it when that time comes. Most companies will just raise the cost of your insurance because they see you as a high risk. The raise may not be permanent though, it generally lasts for about three to five years. You will need to look into the insurance services if you are convicted of this offense. You need to make sure you do not need to file an SR-22 with the DMV to reinstate your license as proof that you have insurance. Most companies will do this for you, but make sure your insurer provides this service.
Need an attorney for your underage DWI/DUI in San Antonio?
This offense holds severe consequences, which is why you need to take the necessary steps to fight against your charges. Team up with a San Antonio DWI defense lawyer from our firm for the aggressive representation that you need! Contact The Law Office of John J. Fox for help in your case!