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What happens to a minor accused of drunk driving?

If you have earned the right to drive in Texas, you may find it helpful to learn about some of the penalties associated with various violations including alleged drunk driving. 

The Texas Department of Transportation explains that the state takes different approaches to the set of penalties for a driver accused of impaired operation if that person’s age falls below the legal age for consuming alcohol than if the driver is at least 21 years old. 

Texas’ zero tolerance approach 

The state adopts a zero tolerance method to addressing impairment by a minor driver. In fact, a driver between the ages of 17 and 20 may even experience some time in jail after only a first allegation of drunk driving. In addition to potentially spending time in jail, a teen driver may be required to pay high fines and lose the right to drive for a while. Participation in community service activities commonly accompanies a minor driver’s consequences for an allegation of drunk driving. 

Adult involvement may be misdemeanor 

The state indicates that an adult may provide alcohol to their own minor child so long as the adult remains with the child during consumption. However, an adult found to have sold an alcoholic beverage to an underage person may end up being charged with a Class A misdemeanor under state law. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give minors and their parents an overview of some of the penalties that may result if they are convicted of a drunk driving offense in Texas.