Standards for DWI and DUI charges in Texas are different for adults over the age of 21 and individuals who are under the age of 21; all persons under the age of 21 are considered minors for the purposes of DWI and DUI laws. While adults typically will not face DWI charges unless they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that measures 0.08% or greater, individuals who are under the age of 21 can face DUI charges if they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their systems. However, while individuals under the age of 18 only can face DUI charges, those who are between the ages of 17 and 21 can face adult charges and penalties for DWI. Generally, the penalties for DUI for adults are harsher than those for DWI for minors.
Can My Child Be Tried as an Adult on DWI Charges?
A first-time DUI charge for an individual who is under the age of 17 is a Class C misdemeanor offense, which can result in a fine of up to $500, between 20 and 40 hours of community service, and a driver’s license suspension ranging from 60 – 180 days. For individuals who are under 17 and refuse to take a BAC test, the suspension period is an automatic 180 days.
In contrast, a first-time DWI charge for individuals who are between the ages of 17 and 21 is a Class B misdemeanor offense. Penalties for a Class B misdemeanor include fines of up to $2,000 and a period of incarceration ranging from 72 hours to 180 days. These individuals also may face a license suspension of up to one year, although the court can reduce the suspension to 90 days if it orders completion of community service hours and the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). Refusing to take a BAC test also results in an automatic 180-day license suspension.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.