Anyone under the age of 21 is legally considered a minor. When it comes to a DWI or other alcohol-related crimes such as purchasing or possessing alcohol, the age issue is important, especially considering our national “zero tolerance” policy for minors and alcohol. For example, an underage DWI in Texas has additional penalties; not only was the minor drinking and driving, they were also illegally in possession of alcohol at the same time.
An underage DWI in Texas triggers a more comprehensive approach to rehabilitation.
Because of the age factor, anyone convicted of an underage DWI in Texas will also be required to take a twelve-hour long alcohol education class on top of the regular DWI penalties. Without taking this class an underage offender will have an 180-day license suspension at a minimum. Another DWI conviction will result in an entire year of suspended driving privileges. It is also possible to receive a suspension for refusing a breathalyzer test or failing to pass the breathalyzer during the traffic stop. An underage DWI offender may also have a car breathalyzer (interlock ignition device), a community service requirement or both, depending on the judge’s discretion.
That’s not all. Texas takes all underage alcohol-related crimes seriously. From public intoxication to fake identification and the illegal purchase of alcohol, the state will suspend driving privileges, even if the minor has not been driving. The strict approach reminds everyone that the only legal way to drink is to wait until age 21 is reached, and there is never a good age to drive while intoxicated.
When youth, alcohol and the freedom to drive are combined, the end result is an underage DWI, a crime that Texas takes seriously on all levels. The underage DWI laws in Texas reflect the zero tolerance approach to drunk driving across the U.S., helping to keep those who may be at a higher risk behind the wheel stay safe and learn responsibility.