Can a Minor Get a DWI in Texas

Can a Minor Get a DWI in Texas?

As we head into the holidays, many parents and children wonder, “Can a minor get a DWI in Texas?” To be brief, minors can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Harris County and throughout Texas. 

However, unique factors at play make a minor DWI different from one for which an adult might face charges. Still, these cases are no less severe because they involve a minor. Across Texas, courts take drunk driving charges very seriously. 

These charges have severe, lasting consequences for anyone caught driving under the influence. At Universal Law Group, our attorneys are available to share their expertise on minor drinking laws. 

If you still have questions after reading this article, please contact our law firm for a consultation. 

What’s the Difference Between a DWI and DUI in Texas?

The difference between these charges is not too complex. Driving under the influence (DUI) is reserved for minors. Moreover, it is applicable when any detectable amount of alcohol is in their system. This number can fall below a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%. 

On the other hand, a DWI can apply to both adults and minors. For those under 21, a DWI occurs when their BAC is over 0.08%. This leaves them facing DWI charges, just like an adult would. 

Additionally, you can get a DWI for driving under the influence of drugs, which applies to prescriptions as well if they impact your driving. Simply put, any loss of your regular physical or mental abilities will likely put you in danger of a DWI, regardless of age. 

Penalties for Minor DWI or DUI

DUI Penalties in Texas

Typically, DUI penalties are not as severe as DWI penalties. Often, a young offender with no aggravating factors results in light charges. But you should never take them lightly. 

DUI penalties come with severe consequences that follow minors for life. This is especially true for repeat offenders. 

A first-time DUI is a Class C misdemeanor for minors under 17. However, this rises to a Class B misdemeanor for minors between 17 and 20. 

The charges and penalties per offense are as follows:

  • 1st Offense Under 17
    • Class C Misdemeanor 
    • 20-40 Hours of Community Service
    • Fine of up to $500
    • 60-day license suspension
    • Mandatory alcohol education class
  • 1st Offense 17-20
    • Class B Misdemeanor 
    • Jail time of 72 hours – 180 days
    • Fine of up to $2,000
    • 1-year license suspension
  • 2nd Offense Under 17
    • Class C Misdemeanor 
    • 40-60 Hours of Community Service
    • Fine of up to $500
    • 180-day – 2-year license suspension
    • Mandatory alcohol education class
  • 3rd Offense Under 17
    • Delinquent Conduct by a Minor
    • 40-60 Hours of Community Service
    • Fine of up to $500
    • 180-day – 2-year license suspension

DWI Penalties in Texas

Beyond asking, “can a minor get a DWI in Texas,” you might wonder whether jail time is mandatory for a first-time DWI. Fortunately, jail time is not required for a first DWI. However, it is still possible to do jail time for a first-time DWI. 

This usually happens in situations with an excessively high BAC or if the driver caused harm to others. 

  • 1st Offense
    • Class B Misdemeanor
    • Fines up to $2,000
    • 72 hours – 180 days jail time
  • 2nd Offense
    • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fines up to $4,000
    • 30 days – 1 year jail time
  • 3rd Offense & Subsequent Offenses
    • Third-degree felony
    • Fines up to $10,000
    • 2-10 years of jail time
  • Intoxication Assault 
    • Third-degree felony
    • Fines up to $10,000
    • 2-10 years of jail time
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
    • Second-degree felony
    • Fines up to $10,000
    • 2-20 years of jail time

What Impacts Consequences?

Aggravating factors, such as an excessive BAC, assault, or manslaughter, always increase the gravity and penalties of a case. With these factors involved, you face up to 20 years in prison. 

Remember, DUI applies to minors with a BAC below 0.08%. However, it can quickly become a DWI case. 

If you or your child faces charges for a minor DWI or DUI, you need an aggressive attorney on your side. At Universal Law Group, we are your advocates, ready to protect your rights and your future. 

Is Your Child Facing DWI Charges?

So, can a minor get a DWI in Texas? Yes, they can, but it doesn’t have to be the end of their bright future. With experienced legal representation, you can fight the charges. Moreover, you can work to secure your child’s reputation and future. 

Our legal team is ready to build a strong defense if a minor family member is charged with a DWI or a DUI. Contact our team to schedule your consultation today.