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.
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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.”
The DUI offense is described in Section 106.041(a) of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
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.
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.
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.
The offense is punished as a Class C misdemeanor,1 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 child2. In that case, the offense is punished as a Class B misdemeanor.3 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.”4 You will also be required to take a drug and/or alcohol awareness program.5
If you have been convicted of more than one DUI, there is no way to get them off your record in Texas.6 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.7 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.
You are eligible under state law to get a DUI deferred unless you have been previously convicted twice or more of DUI.8
If you are granted a deferred disposition, there are several requirements that the court must impose, including a drug and/or alcohol awareness program.9
1 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.041(b)
2 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 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.
3 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.041(c)
4 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 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.
5 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.115(a)
6 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.12
7 Texas Government Code Section Sections 411.073(a) & 411.0735(a)
8 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.041(f)
9 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.115(a)