Underage drinking can lead to all sorts of legal troubles, from expensive fines to loss of driving privileges. Punishments are particularly severe when it comes to underage drunk driving, which can result in property damage, injuries, and even worse.
Because penalties are so strict, young people in Texas must understand the consequences of underage drinking. Here are a few possible penalties and how they can affect your life.
Zero tolerance law for underage drunk driving
Zero tolerance means that driving with any amount of alcohol in your system while under the age of 21 can lead to legal consequences. First offenses entail license suspension lasting 60 days, with the ability to apply for an occupational license after 30 days. This license offers limited driving privileges, such as to work and school. You will also face a maximum fine of $500, mandatory attendance of alcohol awareness classes, and 20 to 40 hours of compulsory community service.
As for second offenses, the license suspension period extends to 120 days, with the option of an occupational license after 90 days. Additionally, the court requires 40 to 60 hours of community service. Upon the third offense, license suspension lasts 180 days without the option of an occupational license. In the event you are 17 or older at the time of the third offense, you will face a maximum fine of $2,000, along with a possible jail term of up to 180 days.
Penalties for underage drinking
According to the law, drinking under the age of 21 is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. Those convicted face a maximum $500 fine and a license suspension or denial spanning 30 to 180 days, as well as a mandatory 8 to 40 hours of community service and alcohol awareness class. Much like underage drunk driving, penalties increase based on your age and number of previous offenses.
Underage drinking not only causes legal issues, but it can also harm other areas of your life. Limited transportation options can make it difficult to attend class, as well as prevent you from finding gainful employment.