Houston DUI Lawyer
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) is prohibited in the State of Texas. If you are under the age of 21, the rules are very strict: You can face serious penalties, including loss of your driver’s license and jail time, for having even a drop of alcohol in your system. Many Texas police officers and prosecutors think they are making an example of minors caught drinking and driving by throwing the book at them, leaving a black mark on the defendants’ records that can follow them for years.
Do not let an overzealous cop hurt your ability to get a good job or a good education and delay or inhibit your ability to have a productive life. If you or someone you know gets arrested for DUI in Texas, call a passionate and understanding Houston DUI lawyer at Ayson Law Firm for help. We will fight to keep you out of jail, avoid more serious consequences, get charges reduced, and even get charges dropped where there are holes in the prosecution’s case. You cannot afford to risk fighting these charges on your own. Let us help you protect your future.
DUI vs. DWI in Texas
In many states, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are interchangeable terms. The state will have a law on the books punishing one or the other, and people will simply mix up the terms. In other states, one crime refers to driving under the influence of drugs, while the other refers to drunk driving. In Texas, while many people use both terms to refer to the same thing, DWI and DUI each have a distinct legal meaning.
If a person of any age operates a vehicle while legally intoxicated (i.e., if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, if they are under the influence of drugs, or if their faculties are otherwise impaired by alcohol or drugs), then they can be arrested and charged with a DWI. If a minor under the age of 21 is caught driving with any alcohol on their breath in Texas, then they can be charged with DUI/DUIA–Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. Only people under age 21 can be charged with DUI, although anyone can technically be charged with DWI. There is no other legal definition to the term “DUI” in Texas, although many people say “DUI” when they really mean DWI.
Texas Zero Tolerance Policy
Unlike adults 21 and over, minors can be charged with DUI for having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. The government does not need to prove that the minor was impaired by alcohol, only that they were driving with a detectable level of alcohol present. Unfortunately, that makes the government’s job much easier when trying to prove DUI, which makes it all the more important to know your rights when you are pulled over.
A person under age 21 can also be charged with DWI, which can lead to more severe penalties, if they have a BAC of 0.08 or if they are under the influence of drugs while operating a vehicle in Texas.
The penalties for DUI are not as severe as those for DWI, at least for a first-time offender. A minor under age 17 convicted of DUI for the first time can face a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500, an alcohol awareness course, community service, and a suspended driver’s license. If the minor has at least two prior DUI convictions, they could face a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail in addition to the other penalties.
Minors who are convicted of a DUI before age 21 can move to have their conviction expunged upon their 21st birthday. Expungement removes the conviction from the defendant’s record, meaning that record of the conviction “may not be shown or made known for any purpose.” If you have a DUI on your record, there is no reason not to have it wiped away. Talk to a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney for help cleaning up your record.
Legal Representation You Can Trust for Houston DUI Defense
Reach out to our Houston criminal defense legal office to speak with a seasoned DUI criminal defense attorney at Ayson Law Firm today. We provide dedicated, trusted advice and counsel to defendants arrested or charged with DUI and DUIA in Texas. Call the Houston DUI lawyer at Ayson Law Firm today for a free consultation about your Texas DUI charges.