Minor DUI in Fort Bend County, Texas

In the state of Texas, drug or alcohol-related traffic crimes are generally categorized as DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence). If your underage son or daughter has been charged with Minor DUI in Fort Bend County, you need to hire an experienced Fort Bend County criminal defense attorney right away to protect their rights.

DWI vs. DUI: What’s the Difference?

If your minor child has been charged with a drug or alcohol-related traffic violation, you need to understand the difference between a DWI and a DUI.

I. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

In Texas, driving while intoxicated refers to the operation of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs, such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine or other controlled substances. Anyone can be arrested for DWI, regardless of their age. Depending on whether you face a first, second or third offense, you may be charged with either a Class A or B misdemeanor or a third-degree felony in a DWI case. If you’re arrested for suspicion of DWI, you may be asked to take a breath, blood or urine test to establish the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit in Texas is currently .08. DWI offenses are typically handled in county court or felony court.

II. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

The state of Texas reserves the DUI charge specifically for minors under 21 years of age. Minor DUI is categorized as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any detectable amount of alcohol. If your minor son or daughter is arrested on suspicion of DUI, he or she may also be asked to submit to a breath test. It’s important to remember that minor drivers may refuse the breath test if arrested; however, there may be serious consequences for doing so. The minor could, also face a license suspension. Cases involving Minor DUI are typically heard at the municipal court level or justice of the peace court level.

Refusing the Breath Test: Pros and Cons

If an underage driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, there is a possibility that their driver’s license may be suspended for 60 days or up to 180 days depending on how the minor is charged. If the minor in question has a prior DWI conviction, their license can potentially be suspended for up to two years.

As part of the license suspension process, your Fort Bend County Minor DUI Attorney can request an Administrative License Review (ALR) hearing. The ALR hearing must be requested within 15 days of the date of the arrest or citation.

The primary advantage of refusing the breath test is that it limits the evidence the prosecution may use to prove the Minor DUI charge. Conversely, prosecutors could potentially use the fact that you refused the breath test against you trial as an admission of guilt. The same is also true if you refuse to submit to the field sobriety test or additional blood or urine testing.

Will My Son or Daughter Go to Jail if Convicted of Minor DUI?

While Minor DUI is considered a serious offense in Fort Bend County, the good news is that underage drivers do not face jail time if convicted on DUI charges.

Under Texas law, Minor DUI is considered a Class C misdemeanor. As such, the penalties for a Minor DUI conviction may include:

  • A $500 fine
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Alcohol education/treatment

The consequences of a Minor DUI charge may be more severe for minor drivers who incur multiple drug or alcohol-related convictions.

It’s important to note that minors convicted of a DWI charge typically face much stiffer penalties, including higher fines, an extended suspension of their driver’s license and possibly even jail time.

Can My Child Face Additional Alcohol-Related Charges?

In addition to facing a Minor DUI charge, underage drivers can also face a citation for Minor in Possession (MIP) if they are found with alcohol in their presence. For example, your son or daughter could be charged with Minor in Possession if they’re riding in a vehicle where alcohol is present but are not actually driving. The only exception to this rule is if another adult over the age of 21 is also present.

Minor in Possession is also considered to be a Class C misdemeanor and carries penalties similar to Minor DUI, including fines, community service and driver’s license suspension.

One of the common myths surrounding Minor in Possession is that the charges will automatically be erased from an individual’s juvenile record once they reach age 21.

Be aware that a MIP conviction will not automatically disappear from your child’s record. A qualified juvenile criminal defense attorney can fight on your child’s behalf for a deferred adjudication, which will essentially seal the record. Failure to do so can leave your child open to more severe penalties if they face additional DWI/DUI charges later on.

What Should I Do if My Child is Arrested for Minor DUI?

Getting the call that your child has been arrested can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Both you and your child may be frightened, embarrassed and confused about what to do next. If your son or daughter is arrested on Minor DUI, DWI or Minor in Possession charges, you cannot afford to waste any time in contacting a qualified Fort Bend County juvenile criminal defense lawyer.

The law firm of Lee D. Cox specializes in handling cases for minors charged with DUI, DWI or Minor in Possession. Lee will work hard on your child’s behalf to defend him or her against charges stemming from drugs and/or alcohol so that they can get their lives back on track.

We understand that mistakes happen and we know you don’t want to see your child’s future ruined by one youthful indiscretion. Call the law office of Fort Bend County Minor DUI attorney Lee D. Cox today to protect your child’s rights. We offer every client a free initial case evaluation and we are committed to mounting the strongest defense possible. Call us now at 281-762-7345 to get the legal representation your child needs to fight their Minor DUI/DWI case.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney's office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

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