Minor DWI in Texas: Can Minors Get a DWI?
With summer in full swing, it’s common for parents to wonder, “Can minors get a DWI in Texas?” Unfortunately, the short is yes. However, there are some unique variables that come into play, differentiating a minor DWI from an adult version of the crime.
Still, these offenses are no less serious when charged as a minor. As always, Texas takes DWI cases seriously, ensuring that consequences are lasting and severe.
When your child needs representation, you can rely on Houston DWI lawyer Herman Martinez to share his expertise and experience. If you have questions about your case, contact our firm immediately to schedule a consultation.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) as a Minor
A DWI can apply to both adults and minors. When someone under 21 in Texas has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.08%, they can face DWI charges just like any adult. Additionally, they can be charged with a DWI for being under the influence of drugs, even with a prescription, if it impacts their driving ability.
In fact, almost any loss of normal physical or mental faculties puts a driver in line for a DWI, regardless of their age. So, a minor arrested with a BAC of over 0.08% is likely to receive a DWI charge.
Texas Implied Consent Laws
When an officer pulls a minor over for a traffic stop with reasonable suspicion they’ve been drinking, that officer can require the driver to take a blood or breath test. While it’s possible to refuse a breathalyzer, it’s not always the best idea.
When you drive a car in Texas, you owe a duty of care to everyone on the road. As such, you provide “implied consent” for BAC testing by being on the road. Of course, there’s the option to refuse the test.
However, that often is just a short delay before the police produce a warrant for a blood test. In a minor DWI case, blood tests are a bit more difficult to exclude or combat as evidence. Additionally, refusal results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days.
It also doesn’t look great if the case goes to court, even though it’s not possible for them to link refusal to self-incrimination.
Penalties for a Minor DWI
Typically, a minor faces the potential of fines, license suspension, and some jail time as a consequence of a DWI. The severity of each depends on the type of DWI and any prior arrests.
Jail time is not mandatory for a first-time DWI as a minor in Texas. However, the circumstances of your case can aggravate and enhance it, leading to more severe consequences.
Aggravating factors include the following.
- High BAC
- Intoxication assault
- Intoxication manslaughter
Each of these increases the severity of your situation quite significantly. Moreover, the wrong charge can put you in prison for up to 20 years.
Work with a DWI Specialist: Herman Martinez
Can a minor get a DWI in Texas? Absolutely. However, that is not the end of the road.
When you have an experienced attorney on your side, you have an advocate to fight for the best possible outcome of your child’s case.
If a minor in your family faces a minor DWI charge, schedule a consultation with The Martinez Law Firm. We work to pursue the best possible outcome of every case we handle. Let your team help you understand your case and fight for your future.