Recently, a local teen was involved in a drunk driving crash in which he hit a chain link fence, a mailbox, a brick fence, a sprinkler system, and two parked cars. Although no one was hurt in the car crash, the teen, who was only 19, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15, over twice the legal limit for someone 21 or older. This crash brings up the importance of understanding and obeying DUI and DWI laws, specifically those involving minors. Here are some important things for minors to understand concerning Texas DUI and DWI laws:
- People under 21 are considered minors under DWI law.
- The BAC for those under 21 is .02. This basically equals out to any alcohol in the person’s system.
- If the person refuses a breathalyzer or blood test, their license will be suspended: 180 days for the first offense, and 2 years for subsequent offenses.
- For the first DWI offense, the minor can face a fine up to $500.
- The minor must attend an Alcohol Education Program of at least 12 hours.
- The minor’s license will be suspended. Additional time may be added to the license suspension if the minor does not complete an Alcohol Education Program or if a judge gives the minor community service.
- The minor might be required to install an ignition interlock device before being able to drive again.
- Car insurance rates are likely to go up after a DWI or DUI conviction.
- Even if the teen is not driving, they may face penalties for non-driving alcohol-related offenses. These include purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol, lying about their age or presenting false documents in order to obtain alcohol, consuming or possessing alcohol, and public intoxication.
- Penalties for non-driving alcohol offenses by minors will result in license suspension for 30 days for the first offense, 60 days for the second offense, and 180 days for the third offense.
Of course, just because someone is 21 or older does not give the person license to drive while intoxicated. Drink responsibly. If you think it might not be safe to drive, have someone else drive you, or wait until you can safely drive yourself. Those 21 and older will also face fines, jail sentences, and license suspensions if convicted of a DWI.
Unfortunately, even if you are a cautious, responsible driver, not every driver on the road is going to be as safe of a driver. An auto accident attorney in Odessa can help you if you find yourself the victim of a car crash involving an impaired driver. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.