Underage Drinking

If you’re under 21, here’s what happens the first time you are found in possession of alcohol.  Any amount of beer, wine or liquor will trigger these penalties:

• 30-day driver’s license suspension
• up to a $500 fine
• 8 to 12 hours of community service
• mandatory attendance in alcohol-awareness classes

A second or third offense can lead to suspension of your driver’s license for 90 to 180 days. If you’re 17 or older, you also can be fined as much as $2,000 and go to jail for up to 180 days for a third offense.

If you’re under 21, here’s what happens the first time you are stopped for drinking and driving.

• 60-day driver’s license suspension
• up to a $500 fine
• 20 to 40 hours of community service
• mandatory attendance in alcohol-awareness classes

Get caught drinking and driving a second or third time, and the penalties increase, including suspension of your driver’s license for up to 180 days. That’s called zero tolerance. It means “zero” alcohol. And that’s the law in Texas.  Some people, particularly teenagers, can reach a .08 BAC with two or three beers an hour.

If you’re 17 and over, here’s what happens if you’re stopped for drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.

• up to a $2,000 fine
• 72 hours to 180 days in jail
• driver’s license suspension of 90 days to one year

I put this information near the top of this page, but it merits repeating:  If you are stopped and a law enforcement officer asks you to complete field sobriety tests or to provide a blood sample or breath specimen, you should REFUSE.  Just because you are under 21 years old does not mean you must provide a sample.