Having a child arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a frightening experience for the child’s parents. DWI is a serious crime that carries serious consequences. Many parents fear that their children will have harsh adult penalties as a result of a DWI charge. An experienced and knowledgeable juvenile lawyer will help parents understand the differences between the adult and juvenile justice system and assure the best outcome for the parents’ children.
In the state of Texas, juveniles are typically charged with two types of alcohol-related offenses:
- Juvenile DWI
- Minor in Possession
These charges are not detrimental to your children’s future if they are handled properly by an experienced juvenile lawyer. It is vital for parents to contact a Houston juvenile DWI lawyer immediately if their children are charged with a DWI or Minor in Possession. A DWI juvenile lawyer can try to get the charges dismissed so your children’s youthful indiscretions do not endanger their future goals.
Houston Juvenile DWI Attorney
Attorney Matt Horak can assist your child with their DWI arrest. If your child has been charged with a DWI offense in the greater Houston area, including Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, or Waller counties, contact Horak Law immediately for a consultation to ensure that your child’s rights are protected.
Juvenile DWI Under Texas Law
A juvenile DWI in Texas is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor. The consequences for a Class C Misdemeanor include:
- A fine of not less than $500 or more than $2000
- A jail term not to exceed 180 days; or
- Both the fine and the jail term
- Attendance and completion of an alcohol awareness class.
- A juvenile convicted of DWI will be required to perform community service in this manner:
- not less than 20 or more than 40 hours for his or her first offense
- not less than 40 or more than 60 hours if the minor has been previously convicted of an alcohol-related offense
- the community service must involve the educating the public about the misuse of alcohol.
- The court will also suspend the license of the juvenile convicted of a DWI in the following manner:
- 30 day for the first offense
- 60 days for the second conviction
- 90 days if the minor has been convicted two or more times.
The State of Texas does allow deferred adjudication for the first DWI offense, and this conviction will be erased from the minor’s record when he or she turns twenty-one years old. Keep in mind that if the juvenile gets another DWI after he or she receives deferred adjudication, but before he or she reaches twenty-one, then both DWI charges will appear on the juvenile’s record.
It is possible for your child’s DWI case to be completely dismissed or sealed in the future. Once your child is charged with a DWI it is important to seek guidance from an experienced juvenile attorney. It would be a shame to limit your child’s future opportunities due to a DWI that could easily have been taken care of by a good juvenile lawyer. Children will always make mistakes, but mistakes can be corrected with the proper legal assistance. Call Horak Law at (713) 225-8000 to make sure the mistakes your children make today don’t affect them in the future.
Minor in Possession Under Texas Law
Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.05, a juvenile will be given a MIP or Minor in Possession citation if he or she is under the legal drinking age of twenty-one and has alcohol in his or her control. This statue means that a juvenile can get a MIP if he or she is holding a beer or if he or she is standing beside a table with several different alcoholic beverages. Even if a police officer did not see the juvenile ingest alcohol, just be having alcohol readily accessible in the juvenile’s presence is grounds for the juvenile to receive a MIP citation.
An exception to the Minor in Possession of Alcohol law is if the minor has possession of the alcohol in the presence of an adult such as a parent, guardian, spouse or other adult over the age of twenty-one who has guardianship over the minor. Generally, it is acceptable for minors to drink in their homes under the direct supervision of their parents.
There are possibly more situations that would make it permissible for minors to have alcohol in their possession so it is vital to speak to a juvenile defense lawyer immediately if your child receives a DWI or a MIP citation. These charges can be dismissed or expunged when your child reaches the age of twenty-one so it is important to find out your child’s options as soon as possible.
A MIP is a Class C Misdemeanor and the consequences are as follows:
- A fine not to exceed $500 for the first offense
- A fine not less than $250 or more than $2000 and/or jail time not to go over 6 months if a minor has 2 prior convictions
- Community service for not less than 8 or more than 12 hours for the first offense
- Community service for not less than 20 hours or more than 40 if there is one prior offense
- Required attendance at an alcohol awareness course approved by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Suspension of the minor’s driver’s license or driver’s permit for:
- 30 days if there are no prior convictions
- 60 days if there is one prior conviction
- 6 months if there are two prior convictions
Matt Horak is an experienced Houston juvenile defense lawyer who consistently either wins cases or gets the charges dismissed. If your child is facing a minor in possession of alcohol charge, it is important to obtain competent legal assistance as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate and think that when your child reaches twenty-one the MIP charge will disappear. You need to ensure that the MIP charge will not cause problems for your child in the future by getting in touch with Matt Horak as soon as your child gets a MIP citation.
Horak Law | Texas Juvenile DWI Defense Attorney
There are no minor criminal offenses or proceedings. If your child is arrested, your time to protect their rights and their future is limited. You should contact Horak Law immediately to schedule a consultation. Call us today at (713) 225-8000.
Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Horak represents juvenile defendants in Houston Texas and the surrounding areas, including Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, and Waller Counties.