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Police to Fight Teen DWI This Summer

Updated: May 31, 2024 @ 12:59 am

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Many fatal drunk driving accidents involve teen drivers. Although it is illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase or consume alcohol, too many teens get behind the wheel after drinking. Chances are high that they are impaired as soon as they turn the key in the ignition.

Teenagers can crash any day of the year. But the stretch running from Memorial Day to Labor Day is called the 100 Deadliest Days by law enforcement because so many fatal accidents involving teens happen during this period. We aren’t surprised. This stretch occurs during the summer when many teens party with friends. And, unfortunately, some of them drive home instead of calling for someone to pick them up.

Texas DWI prosecutions jumped to 84,962 in 2023. Some drivers were solely intoxicated with liquor, while others had many different drugs in their system. According to Marc Couch, from the Texas Department of Public Safety, these are called “poly drug use” cases because multiple illegal substances are in the bloodstream.

About 10,000 teens in Texas are either killed or seriously injured in car accidents each year. A large percentage happens during the 100 Deadliest Days.

There is No Safe Level of Alcohol for Underage Drivers

Texas has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to underage drivers. A motorist under 21 cannot have any alcohol in their system. If they do, they can face a Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUIA) charge.

An officer will arrest a minor suspected of having any alcohol in their system. The state’s implied consent laws also apply to underage drivers.

What does this mean for you? When you accept a license, you give consent for the police to take a breath or blood specimen if they suspect you are intoxicated. When you refuse, an automatic 180-day suspension kicks in if this is your first refusal. It doesn’t matter whether you are sober or not—you’ve refused to give a sample, so your license is suspended.

If it’s your second, then you lose your license for two years. And that’s only for refusing to give a specimen. You can face other penalties if convicted.

Criminal Penalties for Minors

Depends on Your Age

If you are under 17, then a first offense is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $500 fine, up to 40 hours of community service, and a license suspension for 60-180 days. You will also need to attend an Alcohol Awareness Course. If you have prior drunk driving offenses, then you will probably get more community service and a longer license suspension.

Anyone at least 17 (but younger than 21) will face a Class B  misdemeanor. That means up to a $2,000 fine, a minimum of 3 days in jail, and a one-year license suspension. Community supervision and an ignition interlock device can reduce the suspension to 90 days.

Don’t Throw Away Your Future

Call Brazoria DWI Lawyer Tad Nelson for Help

A misdemeanor as a juvenile might not seem like a big deal: a small fine and some community service. But any juvenile crime could come back later to haunt you. Call Tad Nelson & Associates to speak with one of the most experienced DWI lawyers in the state.

Board Certified Texas Criminal Law Attorney

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