Drivers who are 21 years of age and older face arrest for driving while intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher. However, drivers who are not of legal drinking age can face DWI arrest if there is any trace of alcohol in their system.
DWIs are not the only alcohol-related offenses that affect minors, as there are penalties for a variety of offenses.
Types of offenses
FindLaw discusses the various alcohol-related offenses that minors may face. Along with a DWI, other offenses include:
- Falsely identifying as being 21 years or older to someone servicing or selling alcohol
- Possessing alcohol
- Attempting to purchase alcohol
- Purchasing alcohol
- Consuming alcohol
- Public intoxication
Penalties for offense conviction
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a minor convicted of a DWI faces driver’s license suspension for one year. Before reissuance, the minor must obtain SR-22 insurance, pay a fee and potentially complete an alcohol education program. Additional penalties include a fine, community service and potential jail time.
There is a possibility for a reduced license suspension period. If the judge allows for an interlock ignition device, the suspension is only for 90 days.
For the other alcohol-related convictions, the penalty is license suspension for between 30 and 180 days, depending on if it is a first or subsequent offense and on the age of the minor. Penalties are steeper for minors between the ages of 17 and 21 than for those younger than 18. Additional penalties include fines, community service and an alcohol awareness course. The penalties increase for second and third offenses.