My Teenager Got Arrested for DWI in Copperas Cove. What Now?
Getting charged with a DWI at any age can be overwhelming. But getting arrested for a DWI in Copperas Cove when you’re under the legal drinking limit can be devastating. Texas actually has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone under the age of 21 who commits any type of alcohol-related offense, which of course includes drinking and driving. Since teenagers are not of legal age to purchase or consume alcohol yet, the standard 0.08% blood-alcohol limit of intoxication for driving does not apply to them. If a teenager has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while driving, they will be charged with a DUIA.
The charges will vary based on their age
In Texas, a DWI is a criminal charge for being over the 0.08% BAC legal limit while operating a vehicle. Unlike many other states where DWI and DUI are used interchangeably, a DUI and DUIA are only charged to minors or juveniles. While a DWI is technically a more serious offense, that does not mean there are no serious consequences for being charged with a DUIA. If your teenager got arrested in Texas for driving drunk or impaired, you should contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Your teenager will be charged no matter how old they are if they were caught drinking and driving. However, these charges will vary depending on their age which the Texas Department of Public Safety has clearly outlined.
Under 17 years old
If they are under 17 years old, they will be facing these charges:
- 1st Offense – Class C Misdemeanor. Up to a $500 fine, 20-40 hours of community service, suspended driver’s license for 60-180 days or 90 days with an interlock ignition device, and completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course.
- 2nd Offense – Class C Misdemeanor. Up to a $500 fine, 40-60 hours of community service, suspended driver’s license for 120 days to 2 years, and completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course.
- 3rd Offense – Delinquent Conduct by a Minor. Up to a $500 fine, 40-60 hours of community service, and suspended driver’s license for 180 days to 2 years.
17 years old to 20 years old
While 18-years-old is the legal age of adulthood, Texas still gives more rights to 17-year-olds than those 16 and under which is possibly why they can be charged at the same level as those who are at least 18. If they are between 17 to 20 years old, they will be facing these charges:
- 1st Offense – Class B Misdemeanor. Up to a $2,000 fine, 72 hours to 180 days in jail, suspended driver’s license for up to 1 year.
- 2nd Offense – Class A Misdemeanor. Up to a $4,000 fine, 30 days to 1 year in jail, and suspended driver’s license for 180 days to 18 months.
- 3rd Offense – 3rd Degree Felony. Up to a $10,000 fine, 2 to 10 years in jail, and suspended driver’s license for 180 days to 2 years.
Of course catching anyone drinking under the age of 21 is distressing—especially if they are driving. But if they are not even a legal adult yet, the judicial system in Copperas Cove will go a little easier on them. Your teen will still be charged, but the charges are not as severe so they will hopefully learn their lesson the first time and before they become a legal adult.
Texas has “implied consent” laws
Whether your teenager was arrested while driving a car or driving a boat for intoxication in Copperas Cove, they must submit to either a blood test or a breathalyzer test during their arrest. This is because all drivers, no matter what age, give their “implied consent” to a chemical test if they are suspected of driving under the influence. This test is used to confirm the officer’s suspicions by proving the presence of alcohol, no matter how trivial. If they refuse, then it will result in an automatic 180-day license suspension. If they do not have their license yet, then it will cause a delay in obtaining their driving privileges instead. They also may be placed in jail until their bond is posted or until they reach their court date.
Fighting a teenage DUI or DUIA is not impossible
If your teenager has been charged with a DUI or DUIA, it may seem like your options are limited. However, working with an experienced Copperas Cove criminal defense attorney may be able to help more than you would think. There are certain things we will be able to dig into that could help your case, like:
Inaccurate BAC level results
Breathalyzer tests are not 100% accurate all of the time. These tests work by attempting to read the level of alcohol in your exhaled breath, but the only true accurate test for this result is a blood test. Studies show that even something like how much air is exhaled can affect the readings of a breathalyzer test. So while prosecutors may use breathalyzer readings as formation of a concrete case against your teen, there may be some cracks within it and your child may not actually be guilty.
Not having probable cause
Most of the time, officers will only pull people over when they have a good reason to. Other times, they may not have had one at all. If a police officer does not have probable cause to pull your teen over, then their case buckles. Some examples of not having probable cause for a DUI stop are:
- Late night driving
- Racial profiling
- Swerving once
- Refusal to answer police questions
Even if your teenager was arrested for DUI or DUIA, you may still have a case to fight the charges. You need to contact a Copperas Cove DUI/DUIA defense lawyer today to help prove their innocence or fight for a good and fair plea deal. The criminal defense lawyers at Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm in Killeen and Copperas Cove defend clients throughout all of Central Texas, including Temple, Belton, and Waco, as well as Coryell, Bell and McLennan Counties. Our experienced attorneys will help you with your case so you can receive the best possible outcome. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.
I’ve dedicated my legal career to defending my clients. I demand all the evidence. I investigate all the facts, the so-called witnesses and even the police officers. I make it my business to know the law. Cases can be won or lost before you even set foot inside the courtroom.
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