The Zero Tolerance Law specifies that if a minor has ANY detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system while operating a vehicle in public, the minor has committed the criminal offense of DUI. The minor’s drivers license is immediately suspended and the officer can take the license on site.

Zero Tolerance laws make it a criminal DUI offense for drivers under the age of 21 to drive with even a small amount of alcohol in their system, ranging from 0.00 to 0.02 percent BAC depending on the state.

In Texas, a strong stance is taken against underage driving and the regulations are referred to as Zero Tolerance Law. When Texas says Zero Tolerance, they mean it. This prohibits an underage driver from having any amount of alcohol in their system that is detectable. While some states prohibit a certain BAC level, the state doesn’t provide much wiggle room. This means that one beer you had at the party could easily be turned into a DUI.

What does it take to get a DUI in Texas?

In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) means drunk driving, and the state uses your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine whether you’re too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle.

Below are the state of Texas BAC limits:

  • 21 years old or older: 0.08%
  • Commercial drivers: 0.04%
  • Younger than 21 years old: Any detectable amount.

Alcohol can affect you based on the number of drinks you’ve had, your body weight, and even your gender.

If you are underage however, any amount of alcohol in your system will automatically make you guilty of a DUI. Even if you have no obvious sings of intoxication.

Consequences of underage drinking in Texas

The first time you are stopped for drinking and driving, you could face the following penalties:

  • Up to a $500 fine,
  • A 60-day driver license suspension
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandatory alcohol-awareness classes

If you get caught drinking and driving a second or third time, the penalties increase.

Why is the Zero Tolerance law a good thing?

The underage Texas DWI laws are strict because drinking is illegal for minors, obviously, but also because it hinders the inherent danger and risk of accidents in ways you might not realize. Younger drivers or “the inexperienced drivers” and “drunk drivers” are two of the categories that are most likely to get into an accident. When those two categories coincide, the risk is multiplied.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly one-third of all deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds are the result of a motor vehicle crash and about 35 percent of those fatalities are alcohol-related. The alcohol involvement rate for young drivers is roughly twice that of over-21 drivers, according to the NHTSA. Even at low levels, drinking underage presents a greater risk of fatal crashes.

This is a general article for example purposes.  As always, please contact us at 979-821-2663 regarding your specific case.