Facts About Underage Drinking in Texas: An Under 21 DWI Primer | KGT Law

The organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has compiled a list of the following statistics regarding underage teen drinking.

  • One in six teens binge drinks, yet only one in 100 parents believe his or her teen binge drinks.
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year – that is more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver.
  • Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash.
  • High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school.
  • Almost half of all 10th graders drink alcohol.

Under Age Drinking Laws in Texas

It is within this backdrop of sobering statistics that Texas’ underage drinking laws should be examined. Texas has a zero tolerance policy with respect to underage drinking. Even if the teen is not driving, if alcohol is involved, stiff penalties are ahead for the teen. Anyone in Texas under the age of 21 is considered a minor. The legal drinking age is 21. Under 21s are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol or drugs in their body.

If arrested, charged, and convicted of DWI (including any plea deal) the teens penalties depends on his or her prior criminal history and the severity of the infraction.

First Offense

  • License suspension for up to a year.
  • A fine of up to $500.
  • Mandatory alcohol education program (12 hour course). Failure to complete the program within the allotted time to complete it will result in a license suspension of an additional 180 days.
  • Install ignition interlock device.
  • Texas’ implied consent laws apply to minors. Refusal to consent to a breathalyzer test carries additional penalties before the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Other Alcohol Related Charges

Even non-driving alcohol related criminal charges may affect the teen’s driving privileges. For example, a minor’s license may be suspended between 30 and 180 days, if the following the teen is convicted of the following crimes.

  • Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol;
  • Lying about age in an attempt to get alcohol;
  • Using fake ID state you are 21 and over in an attempt to get alcohol;
  • Possessing alcohol; and
  • Public Intoxication.

For alcohol related charges the judge may order the under 21 to attend an alcohol education program or complete community service.

Arrested for Under Age DWI or DUI?

If you or your young adult is arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and is under the age of 21 the law offices of Kimberly Griffin Tucker, focusing on DWI and DUI defense only is here to help. Located in Plano, Texas and serving Denton, Collins and Dallas counties, we are committed to resolving your DWI case as quickly as possible. Email or call (214) 445-6336 today to schedule your free consultation.