The top concern for a youth charged with driving under the influence of alcohol is to prevent that charge from ruining his or her life. A criminal record could limit his or her options when going to college or looking for a job. Spending time in jail is a jarring experience that may do more to traumatize a youth than rehabilitate him or her. In Texas, the age of a youth charged with DUI makes a significant difference. A juvenile court hears DUI cases for defendants age 16 and younger, while defendants age 17 to 20 are tried as adults.
A DUI charge for someone age 16 or younger is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
A maximum $500 fine;
A minimum 60-day driver’s license suspension;
20 to 40 hours of community service; and
Required completion of an alcohol awareness course.
The goal of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate the youths it convicts without hindering their ability to be healthy adults. Juvenile records are automatically sealed from most background checks and can be permanently sealed if the person does not receive any more criminal charges. A juvenile court is unlikely to sentence a defendant to jail time, even if the juvenile had enough alcohol in his or her system to qualify for a charge of driving while intoxicated.
The public considers the terms “driving while intoxicated” and “driving under the influence” to be synonymous. DWI and DUI are both charges of drunken driving, and each state has a preferred term. However, Texas uses both terms to classify different types of drinking and driving criminal charges. Anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater while operating a motor vehicle will receive the more familiar charge of DWI. DUI applies to cases involving people who are younger than 21.
Underage Drinking and Driving
Texas has a zero-tolerance policy towards drivers who are younger than 21 and have been drinking. Any traceable of amount of alcohol in their systems can result in DUI charges, regardless of whether they were impaired. An underage drinker can still be charged with DWI if his or her BAC is 0.08 or greater. Whether the charge is a DUI or DWI, the underage drinker may also face related charges, such as:
Since 2015, Texas law has required many people convicted of driving while intoxicated to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles as a condition of restoring their driving privileges. The new program is meant to reduce incidents of intoxicated driving by previous offenders and provide some first-time offenders an alternative to a suspended driver’s license. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an organization that advocated for the law, claims that the number of drunk driving deaths in Texas have decreased by 8.5 percent since the law was passed. Because of the newness of the law, it is difficult to find a comprehensive source clearly explaining the ignition interlock device program. Here are the answers to some basic questions.
What Is It?
An ignition interlock device is a small breathalyzer connected to a vehicle’s ignition system and typically located on the vehicle’s passenger side. Before starting the vehicle, the driver must breath into the device. If the breath alcohol content is greater than a preset limit, then the vehicle will not start. After a vehicle is started, the device will sometimes require the driver to provide an additional breath sample to prove continued sobriety. The driver will be alerted of the retest and given time to pullover to a safe location before providing another sample.
One dark and snowy night in Paris, 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were frustrated and troubled when trying to hail a cab. Thinking there had to be a better way, their solution would revolutionize how we get from Point A to Point B with just a few clicks on our smartphones. Uber was born.
By downloading the Uber app, we now can rely seemingly on technology to solve
our logistical needs. Need a ride, have a package to deliver or without worry, plan a night out on the town without a possible arrest looming for driving while under the influence (DWI)? With one quick tap of an app, a low-cost car is on its way.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) correlates impaired driving or driving under the influence (DUI) with an even larger problem, alcohol misuse, and abuse. This definition is supported by cold hard financial data as vehicle accidents total over $37 billion annually with over 52 percent of fatalities related directly to driving under the influence.
With the advent of the holiday season through to New Year’s Eve, the results can be even more devastating and is often referred to as "DUI season." The unofficial start of DUI season is typically Thanksgiving Eve, sometimes referred to as "Black Wednesday" and is documented to be the busiest night of the year for DUI arrests.
As these startling statistics continue to raise concerns, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD), a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping impaired driving is proudly once again promoting the Tie One On For Safety® Campaign.
The Law Offices of Sam H. Lock, with offices in San Antonio and Seguin, Texas, provides criminal defense representation for people charged with state and federal crimes throughout Texas and the United States, including San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, Waco, Hondo, New Braunfels, Laredo, Kerrville, San Marcos, Boerne, and Del Rio, Bexar County, Guadalupe County, Comal County, Wilson County, Gonzales County, Kendall County, Bandera County, Caldwell County, Hays County, Travis County, Medina County, Blanco County, Burnet County, Atascosa County, Live Oak County, Nueces County, Uvalde County.