Texas is known as a “zero tolerance” state when it comes to underage drinking and driving. This means that police can arrest you and charge you with drinking and driving if they suspect that you have any detectable quantity of alcohol in your body.
Perhaps you were out with friends, and like many college students, you had a couple of beers. Perhaps you were not drinking, and just swished out your mouth with an alcohol-based mouthwash. In both these situations, you could end up being charged with underage drunk driving if a police officer pulls you over.W
Whether you’re guilty of underage drunk driving, or if you were inappropriately charged, a criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate your criminal proceedings.
Punishments associated with underage drinking and driving
In Texas, underage drinking and driving is a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted for the first time, you could have to pay as much as $500 in fines and you may need to attend an alcohol awareness course. Also, you may need to attend 20 to 40 hours of community service and receive a 60-day driver’s license suspension.
With subsequent offenses, the penalties are more severe. For a second offense, the penalties include up to $500 in fines, 40 to 60 hours of community service and 120 days of license suspension. For a third offense, the penalties include a 180-day driver’s license suspension. If the minor is over 16 years of age, the fines up to as much as $2,000 and he or she could go to jail for nearly six months.
Getting help with your criminal defense
It doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or not, a criminal defense lawyer can assist you in navigating your criminal proceedings relating to an underage drunk driving charge. Your Texas criminal defense attorney will strive to reduce the chances and/or severity of punishments resulting from your criminal accusations.
Your lawyer might try to negotiate with the prosecution to reach a plea deal that reduces the severity of your punishments. Or, if the evidence against you is weak, your lawyer may try to seek a verdict of not guilty.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001
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