Fort Bend County Minor DUI Defense

Arrests for Minor DUI in Fort Bend County, Texas

minor dui fort bend county texas

Could My Child Go to Jail for a Minor DUI?

Texas traffic crimes connected to drug or alcohol are usually referred to as DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence). If your child is underage and has been arrested in Fort Bend County for Minor DUI, contact a Fort Bend County defense attorney. It is important that your child’s rights are protected.


Understanding the Difference Between DWI and DUI

Although these DWI and DUI are often used interchangeably in common conversation, there is a difference. Should your underage son or daughter be charged with a traffic violation related to drugs or alcohol, it is important that you understand the difference.

I. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

According to Texas law, a DWI (driving while intoxicated) citation can be issued when a person operates a vehicle while having a blood alcohol content level over the current legal limit of .08 or having other controlled substances, such as cocaine, heroin or marijuana in their system. Whether or not you are of legal age for alcohol consumption is irrelevant in a DWI charge. First, second and third DWI offenses may be treated differently. A Class A or B misdemeanor may be the charge, or it could be a third-degree felony in certain DWI cases. Drivers suspected of DWI are often asked to submit to a breath alcohol test or even have their blood or urine tested to determine if drugs or alcohol are present in their body. A DWI charge may be handled in the county court system or in a felony court.

II. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

A DUI differs in the state of Texas from a DWI charge in that it applies solely to drivers under 21 years-old and is referred to as a Minor DUI. This charge is can be applied when someone is operating a vehicle while having any amount of alcohol in their system, whether under or over the legal blood alcohol limit. When an underage child is arrested for DUI, the child may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. Minor drivers are not required to take a breathalyzer test when arrested; however, it is important to note that the consequences for refusing to take the test can be quite serious. The under-aged driver may have their driver’s license suspended as a result.


Should Your Child Submit to an Alcohol Breath Test?

If a driver under the legal age limit of 21 refuses to take a breath test, his or her driver’s license may be suspended for anywhere from 60 days up to 180 days, depending on the exact charge. If the minor driver has prior DWI convictions, there is the potential that their driver’s license could be suspended for as long as two years.

If the minor’s driver’s license is suspended by the court, the Fort Bend County attorney handling the Minor DUI case can request an Administrative License Review (ALR) hearing. They must request the ALR hearing within 15 days of the date the arrest made or citation was issued.

There can be an advantage to refusing a breathalyzer test in some cases. Without the breathalyzer test results, the prosecution has a limited amount of evidence available to prove that the Minor DUI charge is warranted. On the other hand, prosecutors could portray the refusal to take a breathalyzer test as an indication of guilt. This can also be true if the minor driver refuses to take a field sobriety test or submit to additional testing of their blood or urine.


Could My Child Go to Jail for a Minor DUI?

A Minor DUI in is a a serious offense. In spite of this, minor drivers convicted of a DUI offense in Fort Bend County are not sentenced to jail time.

A Minor Driving Under the Influence charge is listed as a Class C misdemeanor under Texas law. This means, that conviction of a Minor DUI may have consequences such as fines, suspended license, community service hours and probation.

For minors who have previous traffic convictions related to alcohol or drugs, the consequences may be more severe when another Minor DUI charge is added.

In addition, minor drivers convicted of Driving While Intoxicated will generally face stiffer penalties than those applied to a Minor DUI charge. A DWI charge can result in possible jail time, higher fines and a longer suspension period on their driver’s license.


Are There Additional Charges My Child Can Face Related to Alcohol?

Minor drivers can face additional charges if alcohol is found in their presence. They could be cited for Minor in Possession (MIP). If your child is a passenger in a motor vehicle where alcohol is found, they may be charged with Minor in Possession, even if he or she is not the driver of the vehicle. The one exception in this case would be if an adult over 21years-old is also in the vehicle.

The MIP charge is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties for an MIP charge are similar to those of a Minor DUI: community service orders, monetary fines and suspension of driver’s license.

There is a myth that Minor in Possession charges will be removed from a person’s criminal record after they reach 21 years of age automatically. This is not necessarily true. It is best to hire an experienced juvenile defense attorney to request the juvenile record be sealed. This can prevent the MIP charges from being used to assess more severe penalties in the event they experience DWI or DUI charges as an adult.


My Child Has Been Charged with Minor DUI. What Should I Do?

No parent wants to hear that their son or daughter has been charged with a crime. It can be frightening and embarrassing for both the child and the parents. You may be confused and uncertain of how to handle the situation.

First of all, do not put it off. Contact an experienced Fort Bend County juvenile criminal defense lawyer right away. He can educate you and assist you in dealing with any Minor DUI, DWI or Minor in Possession charges. There are attorneys in Fort Bend County who specialize in handling cases where minors are charged with DUI, DWI or Minor in Possession.

The law firm of Lee D. Cox has experience representing minors with charges related to alcohol and drugs. We understand that youthful mistakes can have a long-term effect. We know you don’t want your son or daughter’s bright future clouded by one poor choice; neither do we. Call the law office of Lee D. Cox today. We are your Fort Bend County attorney who is equipped to protect the rights of your son or daughter with a charge of Minor DUI. Your initial case evaluation is free; there is no reason to hesitate. You can count on us to mount a strong defense for your child. Call us now at 281-762-7345 to get the legal protection your child needs when facing a Minor DUI/DWI case.