My Teenager was Arrested for DUI, What Should I Do?
If your son or daughter was charged with DUI, the time to start working on his or her case’s defense is now. A DUI charge for a minor is not the same as a DWI charge for an adult, but it can have a similarly negative impact on your child’s life.
Understand the Charge
When a minor is charged with DUI in Texas, he or she faces a Class C misdemeanor. These offenses are generally heard in the municipal court of the city or town where the offense allegedly occurred. Although a Class C misdemeanor can seem minor, it is worthwhile to have a lawyer defend your child’s case. Your teenager can also be charged as an adult with DWI and Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter as well.
A DUI for a Minor Can be Expunged Later
When an adult is convicted of DWI, it remains on his or her criminal record for life. When the individual arrested for DUI was a minor when it occurred, it may be expunged from his or her record if he or she complies with all required court orders. Discuss expungement with your child’s lawyer – if he or she chooses to seek an expungement of the DUI once he or she turns 21, a lawyer can help with this process.
The Differences Between an Adult and a Minor Charge
There are a few significant differences between a drunk driving charge for a minor versus one for an adult. The most obvious is the terminology used: for drivers over 21, the offense is charged as DWI, or driving while intoxicated. For drivers under 21, considered minors under Texas law, it is known as DUI, or driving under the influence. The level of proof is different for a DUI: Driving with any deteactale amount of alcohol in ones system. Its basically a zer-tolerence law: If you have any alcohol on your breath or admit to the officer that you have been drinking, you are subject to being charged/arrested for DUI, even if you are not close to being intoxicated.
Another important difference is the amount of alcohol that must be present in a driver’s bloodstream for him or her to be charged with a DUI versus a DWI. An adult may not operate a motor vehicle if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. A minor may not drive if he has any alcohol in his or her system.
The penalties for a DUI conviction are different from a DWI conviction. When a minor is found guilty of driving drunk, he or she is generally not required to spend time in jail like an adult may be. However, this is a possibility for a minor found driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher to be charged with . Penalties for a minor DUI conviction include:
- A fine of up to $500;
- Required completion of an alcohol awareness program;
- A driver’s license suspension; and
- Community service.
Work with an Experienced Collin County Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If your child is facing a DUI or a more serious DWI charge charge, your first instinct may be to practice tough love and let him or her face the penalties of conviction. But a DUI conviction can have a substantial negative impact on your child’s ability to secure a job, a scholarship, or a college acceptance. Be your child’s advocate by working with experienced DUI defense lawyer J. Michael Price II to fight the charge. Contact our office today to set up your initial consultation.