Legal Regulations to Curtail Underage DWI

It may be a frightening statistic to consider, but the state of Texas has an average of 75 alcohol-related accidents each day, which means that on average there is one drunk-driving accident every 19 minutes. In fact, an average of five people in Texas are killed each day as the result of alcohol-related accidents and a sizable number of these accidents are the result of individuals under the age of 21 driving while intoxicated. From the perspective of a Houston DWI Lawyer, underage drinking and driving has become a major concern amongst the residents of Texas and a number of regulations have been put into effect in an attempt to reduce the number of minors that are driving under the influence of alcohol. One of the major regulations that the state of Texas has established is designed to make it less appealing for teenagers and other individuals under the age of 21 to buy alcohol.

If an individual under the age of 21 is caught in possession of alcohol or has been caught attempting to purchase alcohol in the state of Texas, the individual will have to attend an alcohol awareness class, carry out a minimum of 8 hours of community service up to a possible maximum of 40 hours of community service, surrender his or her license for a period of no less than 30 days and no more than 180 days if it is the first or second offense, and pay a fine of up to $500. If it is not the individual's first or second offense and the individual is 17 years of age or older, the penalties may be even higher. If an individual under the age of 21, but over the age of 16 has been convicted for two or more separate alcohol-related incidents, the individual will face fines of at least $250 up to a maximum of $2500 and may also face up to 180 days in jail. In the case that the individual is instead under the age of 17, has previously been convicted of an alcohol-related offense, and has failed to attend the alcohol awareness class mandated by the court, the individual will have his or her license revoked for a period of one year if he or she is caught in possession of alcohol or has been caught attempting to purchase alcohol.

In addition to these regulations that discourage underage individuals from purchasing alcohol, the state of Texas has also established a series of strict regulations to make it less appealing for individuals to sell alcohol to or purchase alcohol for individuals under the age of 21. If an individual is caught purchasing, providing, or selling an alcoholic beverage for or directly to an underage individual, that individual will face a fine of up to $4000 and/or up to a year in jail. The individual providing the alcohol may also have his or her license suspended for a year and may be held liable for any damage caused by the underage individual while he or she is intoxicated.

John Cavers is a consultant for Grant Scheiner, a DWI criminal attorney in Houston. Grant focuses his legal practice on defending clients accused of criminal charges. Grant also stays busy as the primary writer for the Greater Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Blog discussing legal issues in criminal law.

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