Driving under the influence of alcohol by minor text with flags backgroun Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by Minor
Driving under the influence of alcohol by minor text with flags backgroun

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by Minor

Under the Texas DUI Law, minors are prohibited from operating motor vehicles and watercraft while having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. The full name for the DUI law is Driving or Operating Watercraft Under the Influence of Alcohol by Minor, and there are many special rules found throughout Texas codes that apply to prosecutions and arrests under this law.

Have you been charged with DUI? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305 to discuss legal representation.

Texas law allows anyone to prosecuted for DWI, including minors, but only minors can be prosecuted for DUI. DUI doesn’t require the state’s attorneys to prove “intoxication.” Instead, even a tiny amount of alcohol consumption can lead to a DUI prosecution. DUI is classified in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code under Title 4 “Offenses Against Public Order And Decency”, Chapter 6 “Disorderly Conduct And Related Offenses.”

What is the DUI Law in Texas?

The current Texas law is as follows:1

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.

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

DWI is the Driving While Intoxicated offense in the state of Texas, and it requires that the state’s attorney’s prove that you were intoxicated while you were operating a motor vehicle. Learn more about the Texas DWI law

The DUI law only applies to minors (people under 21 years old), and it does not require the state to prove intoxication.

How can I be charged with DUI?

You can be charged with DUI if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 106.041(a), as described in the section above, have been met.

What is the punishment for DUI?

The offense is punished as a Class C misdemeanor,2 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $500, unless the minor has two prior DUI convictions and is not a child3. In that case, the offense is punished as a Class B misdemeanor.4 Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

In addition to the punishment for a Class C misdemeanor, a court may order you to perform community service related to “education about or prevention of misuse of alcohol.”5 You will also be required to take a drug and/or alcohol awareness program.6

Can I get a DUI off my record?

If you have been convicted of more than one DUI, there is no way to get them off your record in Texas.7 However, if you have only received one DUI while you were under 21, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code provides that you are entitled to an expunction in Section 106.12.

If you are acquitted of a DWI charge, or if it is dismissed, you may be able to keep it off your record through an expunction or an order of nondisclosure. However, the new Texas nondisclosure law specifically prohibits people who have been convicted of DUIs from obtaining an Order of Nondisclosure that people who have been convicted of many other misdemeanors might be able to use.8 So if you have been convicted of a DUI, the only way to get it removed from your record is through the Section 106.12 expunction procedure.

Can I get deferred adjudication for a DUI?

You are eligible under state law to get a DUI deferred unless you have been previously convicted twice or more of DUI.9

If you are granted a deferred disposition, there are several requirements that the court must impose, including a drug and/or alcohol awareness program.10


Legal References:

1 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041(a)

2 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041(b)

3 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041(j)(1), referencing 51.02, Family Code:

(2) “Child” means a person who is:

(A) ten years of age or older and under 17 years of age; or

(B) seventeen years of age or older and under 18 years of age who is alleged or found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision as a result of acts committed before becoming 17 years of age.

4 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041(c)

5 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041(d)-(e)

(d) In addition to any fine and any order issued under Section 106.115, the court shall order a minor convicted of an offense under this section to perform community service for:

(1) not less than 20 or more than 40 hours, if the minor has not been previously convicted of an offense under this section; or

(2) not less than 40 or more than 60 hours, if the minor has been previously convicted of an offense under this section.

(e) Community service ordered under this section must be related to education about or prevention of misuse of alcohol.

6 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.115(a)

7 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.12

8 Texas Government Code §411.073(a) & §411.0735(a)

9 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.041(f)

10 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.115(a)

Recent Case Results

  • 2019 Not Guilty in Collin County DWI >0.15
  • 2019 Not Guilty in Dallas County Indecency with a Child
  • Oral Argument at the United States Federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Prosecutorial Misconduct Claim arising out of Northern District of Texas
  • 2018 Not Guilty in Martin County Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer
  • Not Guilty in 2018 Dallas County DWI Trial
  • Client cleared in Dallas Police Shooting wrongful accusation
  • Federal sentencing results in 10 Year Downward Deviation from Sentencing Guidelines in 2018
  • Not Guilty Jury Verdict for client originally accused of Intoxication Manslaughter
  • Case Dismissed after picking jury in Aggravated Sexual Assault of Child case in 2017
  • United States Attorney dismisses case against client charged in El Paso Federal Court with Possession of Child Pornography
  • ALL CHARGES DISMISSED against our client in the Twin Peaks Waco Biker case
  • Client “No-billed” by grand jury investigating shooting death case
  • Coverage of Case Involving Waco teacher sending messages to student
  • Judge returns a Directed Verdict of Acquittal in case involving trainer of professional athletes
  • Rare Not Guilty verdict in Rockwall County DWI
  • 2016 Dismissal of Fort Worth Federal Possession of Obscene Visual Representation of the Sexual Abuse of Children
  • Hill County Money Laundering case Dismissed and civil asset forfeiture assets returned
  • Coverage of teen Lewisville client charged with hit-and-run death
  • Two Montague County Indecency with a Child cases Dismissed