Can a Person Under 21 Get a DWI Without Being Intoxicated? | Atascosa County DWI Defense Lawyer

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Can a Person Under 21 Get a DWI Without Being Intoxicated?

 Posted on September 16,2021 in DWI

Atascosa County DUI defense lawyerIn Texas, a driver under 21 years of age does not need to be legally intoxicated to be charged with—and convicted of—a criminal offense. This may seem counterintuitive, but Texas takes underage drinking seriously out of recognition that a minor’s chances of getting into an accident go up significantly after just one drink. If you are under 21 and you have been charged with an alcohol-related driving offense, the penalties can be severe. A qualified lawyer can help you protect your rights and build a strong defense.

What is the “Legal Limit” for Persons Under 21 in Texas?

Texas applies what is often called the “not a drop” rule, or the “zero tolerance” rule to persons under 21 when it comes to DWI. This means that if you are not yet 21 years of age, you can face criminal charges if you are found to have any amount of alcohol in your system while operating a motor vehicle. Even if you only drank half a beer or a few sips of a cocktail and do not feel intoxicated, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results indicating anything above 0.00 may be sufficient to justify an arrest and conviction.

In Texas, this offense pertaining to underage drivers is typically referred to as DUI, or driving under the influence, to distinguish it from the offense of DWI (driving while intoxicated), which typically requires a BAC of at least 0.08 or other clear signs of intoxication. A minor who is arrested for DUI can face Class C misdemeanor charges, with a possible sentence including fines and driver’s license suspension. However, if a driver under the age of 21 is found to have a BAC above 0.08, they can also face DWI charges. DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with more serious consequences that may include jail time.

What About Other Substances?

The “zero tolerance” rule holds true for substances other than alcohol. You can also be charged if you have consumed any amount of cannabis, prescription opiates, or other intoxicating substances. These substances can sometimes remain in a person’s system at detectable levels long after the intoxicating effects have worn off. Cannabis, for example, can be detected in some users up to a month after their last use. Prosecutors do not have to prove that a minor was actually under the influence of a narcotic at the time of the arrest to get a conviction, so it is especially important to have an experienced defense attorney representing you.

Contact an Atascosa County Under 21 DWI Defense Attorney

If you or your child is under 21 years old and facing DUI or DWI charges, an experienced Atascosa County DWI defense attorney can help you avoid harsh penalties and charges on your criminal record that could impact your future education and employment prospects. Call BRCK Criminal Defense Attorneys at 830-769-1010 for a free consultation today.



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