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Serious penalties for underage drinking and driving in Texas

Underage drinking is a serious crime, and Texas has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding this type of behavior. If you are under the age of 21 and caught drinking and driving, the repercussions that can come against you are potentially life-altering and very serious.

How you proceed from this point could have a direct impact on your future. You would be wise to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to confront these underage drinking charges in a way that is suitable for your unique situation. With help, you may be able to mitigate some of the penalties that you currently face.

The impact of this type of criminal charge

In the state of Texas, it is illegal for a person under the legal drinking age of 21 to have any discernable amount of alcohol in his or her system. If caught driving, a minor who has been drinking could face the following penalties:

  • Up to a $500 fine
  • 60-day driver's license suspension
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • Required alcohol awareness class

If the driver is over the age of 17 and has a BAC of .08 percent or higher, the penalties are steeper, including:

  • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Three to 180 days in jail
  • License suspension of 90 days to one year

The penalties increase in cost and severity with each subsequent arrest for underage DWI or underage drinking and driving. Minors can also face criminal charges if caught with alcohol in their possession, even if they are not operating a vehicle at the time.

What is at stake?

Underage drinking and driving is a mistake, and you may think that a one-time error would not have a major impact on your life, but you would be wrong. These charges come with penalties that extend beyond the criminal consequences; they can bring consequences that may include:

  • Loss of scholarships
  • Expulsion from student organizations
  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Loss of job opportunities
  • Social impact that comes with drunk driving

Avoiding conviction is about more than saving money and avoiding jail; it is about saving your reputation and preserving your future. Conviction of underage drinking and driving or pleading guilty are not your only options. You will find great benefit in taking quick action to secure the defense counsel needed to reach a positive outcome to your unfortunate legal situation.

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