Under 21 DUI Charges in Conroe, TX

Conroe DUI Lawyer

A driver who is under the age of 21 will face slightly different laws in regard to driving while intoxicated. In fact, minors may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) as opposed to driving while intoxicated (DWI). The specific issues involved with under 21 DUI charges are explained on this page. You are also welcome to call Conroe DWI lawyer Doug Atkinson at your earliest convenience to discuss your particular case and concerns. With his experience in dealing with minors and drunk driving charges, he can offer valuable insight that will help you make informed choices about your case.

Who is a minor?
For the purposes of DWI or DUI, a minor is anyone under 21 years of age.

Can a minor be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI)?
A minor (17 to 21 years of age) or a juvenile (10 to 16 years old) may be charged with DWI.

Can a minor be arrested for DWI?
A minor (17 to 21 years of age) can be arrested for DWI and taken to the county jail. The minor will sit in jail until a magistrate sets their bond. A juvenile (10 to 16 years of age) cannot be arrested and taken to the county jail for a DWI. However, a juvenile can be detained and taken to the county juvenile detention facility where they will remain until they see the magistrate.

What are the punishments for a minor charged with DWI?
A minor (17 to 21 years of age) faces the same penalties as an adult charged with a DWI offense. A juvenile (10 to 16 years of age) case will be treated under the Texas Family Code and does not face the same penalties as an adult or minor.

Can a minor refuse to perform field sobriety tests?
A minor may refuse to perform field sobriety tests. Many people are unable to do well on the tests because they are nervous, uncoordinated, ill, or suffer from an injury.

Can a law enforcement officer request a minor take a blood or breath alcohol test?
If a minor has a Texas driver’s license, he or she has agreed to take a breath or blood alcohol test if arrested for driving while intoxicated or another alcohol related driving offense. This is often referred to as the implied consent law. If a minor refuses to take the test, the fact that he or she refused to take the test can be used against him or her in court during the trial. A minor may also face a longer driver’s license suspension if he or she refuses to take the test.

Can a minor refuse a blood or breath alcohol test?
Texas has an implied consent law which means that if you applied for and received a Texas driver’s license you agreed to take a breath or blood alcohol test if arrested for DWI, DUI, or other alcohol related driving offense. The implied consent law applies to minors. However, a minor can refuse to take the test.

There are consequences to refusing to take the test. The government attorney can use the minor’s refusal against them during their trial. Further, DPS may suspend the minor’s driver’s license longer than if they had taken the test. Regardless of these potential consequences giving a breath or blood test essentially gives the government more evidence to attempt to convict a citizen of DUI or DWI.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by Minor (DUI)

What is driving under the influence of alcohol by minor (DUI)?
A minor commits an offense if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system. DUI is a Class C Misdemeanor.

There are two primary differences between DUI and DWI. First, only minor can be charged with DUI. A citizen over 21 years of age does not meet the definition of a minor and therefore cannot be charged accordingly. Second, DUI only requires a minor have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. The minor does not have to show a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater or impaired abilities as in a DWI case. A police officer will therefore ticket and sometimes arrest a minor for DUI if they have any amount of alcohol in their system. Unfortunately, some minors are arrested for DWI (a more serious offense) because the officers believe they have blood alcohol concentrations of .08% or greater or have impaired mental/physical abilities.

Is a minor entitled to an ALR hearing for DWI or DUI?
A minor is entitled to an ALR hearing. The minor must request the hearing within 15 days of receiving written notice or their license will be automatically suspended.

What is the government’s burden of proof at the ALR hearing?
In a Breath/Blood Alcohol Test Refusal Case, the State must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:

  • The law enforcement officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the minor or probable cause to arrest the minor;
  • The law enforcement officer had probable cause that the minor operated a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated or operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer’s rating of 50 horsepower or above while intoxicated;
  • The minor was placed under arrest and the law enforcement officer offered the minor an opportunity to provide a specimen of breath or blood under the provisions of Tex. Trans. Code Ann. Ch. 724; and
  • The minor refused to provide a specimen on request of the officer.

In a Breath/Blood Alcohol Test Failure Case, the State must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:

  • The minor had an alcohol concentration of a level specified in Section 49.01 Texas Penal Code, while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and
  • The law enforcement officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest or take you into custody existed.

The State may also use the DUI standards to suspend a minor’s driver’s license. In those cases the State must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that:

  • The defendant was a minor and had any detectable amount of alcohol in his/her system while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and
  • Reasonable suspicion to stop the minor or probable cause to arrest or take the minor into custody existed.

What are the lengths of suspension for a minor’s driver’s license?
If the minor refused to provide a specimen following an arrest for an offense prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated, while under the influence of alcohol, or while under the influence of a controlled substance, the suspensions are as follows:

180 day suspension - First Offense

2 year suspension - If previously suspended for failing or refusing a specimen test or previously suspended for a DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter conviction during the 10 years preceding the date of arrest.

If the minor provided a blood or breath specimen with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 (or any detectable amount of alcohol) or was not requested to provide a specimen following an arrest for an offense under Section 106.041 Alcoholic Beverage Code or Sections 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle, the suspensions are as follows:

60 day suspension - First Offense

120 day suspension - If previously convicted of an offense under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code or Sections 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08 Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle.

180 day suspension - If previously convicted twice or more of an offense under Section 106.041 Alcoholic Beverage Code or Sections 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, involving the operation of a motor vehicle.

Other Alcohol Related Offenses for Minors

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
A minor commits an offense if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system. DUI is a Class C Misdemeanor.

Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
A minor commits an offense if he possesses an alcoholic beverage. Minor in Possession is a Class C Misdemeanor. It is not an offense for a minor to possess an alcoholic beverage:

  • While in the course and scope of the minor's employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permittee and the employment is not prohibited by Texas law; or
  • If the minor is in the visible presence of his or her adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court; or
  • If the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of the Alcohol and Beverage Code.

Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor
If a minor consumes an alcoholic beverage it is a Class C Misdemeanor, unless the minor consumed the alcoholic beverage in the visible presence of the minor's adult parent, guardian, or spouse.

Public Intoxication
A minor commits an offense if the minor appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the minor may endanger himself or another person.

Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor
A minor commits an offense if the minor purchases an alcoholic beverage. A minor does not commit an offense if the minor purchases an alcoholic beverage under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Code.

Attempt to Purchase Alcohol by a Minor
A minor commits this offense if, with specific intent to commit to purchase an alcoholic beverage, the minor commits an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tends but fails to effect the commission of the offense intended.

Misrepresentation of Age by a Minor
A minor commits an offense if he falsely states that he is 21 years of age or older or presents any document that indicates he is 21 years of age or older to a person engaged in selling or serving alcoholic beverages.

Punishment for Alcohol-Related Offenses by Minors (other than DWI)

First Offense

  • Fine up to $500.00
  • 8 to 12 hours Community Service
  • Driver’s License Suspension for 30 days
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course

Second Offense

  • Fine up to $500.00
  • 20 to 40 hours Community Service
  • Driver’s License Suspension for 60 days
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course

Third Offense

  • Fine of $250.00 to $2000.00
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Driver’s License Suspension for 180 days

DUI Expungement for Minors in Conroe

First Offense
A minor is eligible for deferred disposition. If the minor completes the deferred disposition successfully, the conviction may be expunged once the minor turns 21 years of age so long as the minor has no other convictions of the Alcoholic Beverage Code.

Second Offense
A minor is eligible for deferred disposition, however, the conviction may not be expunged from the minor’s record.

Third Offense
The minor is not eligible for deferred disposition or deferred adjudication and the conviction may not be expunged from the minor’s record.

Hire a Conroe DUI Attorney

If you are a minor who has been charged with an intoxication offense, or if you are a parent who has a child that has been charged with DWI or DUI in Conroe, you should act immediately and call an attorney who can begin handling your case with professionalism and the personalized attention you deserve.

Contact Conroe DUI attorney Doug Atkinson to discuss a case involving underage drinking and driving or DUI by a minor.