You may already know that Texas takes DWI enforcement quite seriously. But did you know that there are special Texas laws for underage drivers suspected of DWI? That's what many drivers discovered during a recent underage drinking enforcement operation in Amarillo, Texas.
On Friday, April 23, 2021, and Saturday, April 24, 2021, the Amarillo Police Department Juvenile Investigation Squad, Patrol Unit, Motorcycle Unit, and the Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers made multiple arrests in a coordinated campaign targeting underage drinking. Police cited four minor in possession arrests, four curfew violations, several arrests for possession of drug paraphernalia, arrests for tobacco possession, and 16 arrests for DWI over the two-day campaign.
Driving While Intoxicated
In Texas, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle or a watercraft in a public place while intoxicated. Someone is “intoxicated” if:
- They don't have the use of their normal mental or physical faculties after using drugs or alcohol, or
- They have a BAC of .08% or higher.
Anyone legally intoxicated can face a DWI charge regardless of age. However, those under the legal drinking age of 21 can also face charges for driving under the influence.
Driving Under the Influence
Texas is a zero-tolerance state. Here, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs in their system. This charge is known as driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI, or DUIA. For drivers under 21, even with a BAC below .08%, any detectable amount of alcohol will result in a driving under the influence of alcohol charge.
Under Texas law,“[a] minor commits an offense if the minor operates a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor's system.” See Tex. Penal Code § 106.41 (2009). Police can also charge those under 21 with driving while intoxicated if they are legally intoxicated.
Implied Consent for Blood Alcohol Testing
Under Texas law, drivers also give “implied consent” to blood alcohol testing. If a police officer suspects a minor of drinking and driving, they can request a breath test without the presence of an adult. If a minor refuses a BAC test, the officer can get a warrant for a blood test, and the minor faces a mandatory license suspension of 180 days to two years.
Hire a Board Certified Texas DWI Expert
If your child faces a DWI or DUI charge, they need a defense attorney who is an expert in DWI and criminal law defense. Only attorneys Board Certified in DWI and criminal law can claim the title of “expert” in Texas. Attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two attorneys in Texas Board Certified in both DWI Defense and Criminal Law.
Doug understands the fear both you and your child can face after an arrest. Moreover, he has more than 20 years of experience in criminal and DWI defense in Texas. Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug the “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021 for DWI defense. Doug can help you too. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation.