Re: 17 Year Old Wrecks Car Without License and Gets DWI
I'll try to answer at least some of your questions. I'm not going to do the research to find the maximum penalties for each of these charges. You can do your own homework at this site. Keep in mind that he is unlikely to "get the max" even with this cornucopia of charges but I cannot tell you what expected "standard" penalties might be either. Also, as he is a minor, it may well be different than a "standard" adult sentence.
But, for some of your other questions, if he had a blood test taken, it is unlikely that he was also administered a breath test. The reason he was given a blood test is likely one or both of two reasons. First, he was in a crash and went to the hospital. So, a blood test was more convenient than a breath test. Second, the police may have suspected that he was under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol. A blood test is the only way to determine what if any drugs were in his system. However, if the crash involved the serious injury or death of someone else, he may be being charged with the Texas equivalent of vehicular homicide or vehicular assault...I work in Washington State and those are Washington laws for which a blood draw is required - I'm thinking TX has similar laws and requirements. In any event, the results of the blood test may well take a few weeks to come back (where I work, it usually takes at least 3-4 weeks) and the charge(s) will not be filed until the results are back.
Yes, he could be charged with DUI if his blood alcohol content (BAC) comes back as over 0.08. However, even at a lower BAC, he could be charged with "underage DUI." Here in Washington, that only requires a 0.02 BAC...about what you would get from about 1/4 of a can of beer. Also, if the police can show evidence of impairment (visual observations of physical symptoms, circumstances or observations about his driving behavior, field sobriety tests, etc.), he can be charged with the full DUI regardless of BAC. If he was under the influence of drugs instead of alcohol, there is no presumptive limit...so, if the state can show evidence of impairment, he will again likely be charged with the full DUI. And juries are actually more likely to buy impairment from even relatively low concentrations of drugs in the system than with alcohol.
Since he was already attending an alternative school (and got kicked out of that), I presume that he already has a significant criminal history. Because of that, I think it is pretty sure that the answer to another of your questions...could he end up doing jail time...is a definite yes. With his (presumed) history, a prosecutor is unlikely to consider him a good candidate for rehabilitation through a deferred prosecution. I would anticipate a fairly significant amount of time in jail or a juvenile facility (by "significant" I mean like 3-6 months) followed by a lengthy (years) probationary period that includes conditions like no further criminal behavior, no alcohol/non-prescribed drugs, school attendance with no further disciplinary issues, attendance in a treatment program, etc. Basically, his butt will belong to the state and this will be hanging over his head for a good long time...if, through either action or inaction, he fails probation even once, he could be sent back for more jail time.
Can his actions fall back on his parents? Criminally, it is unlikely or possibly (depending on TX statutes) not at all. Civilly? Absolutely. Until he is 18, his legal guardian(s) (presumably you, but that can also be any legal guardian including the state) are civilly responsible for him. Whatever he crashed into (fence, light pole, car...person?) you can bet you're going to be on the hook to pay for. If he injured someone, you can expect a law suit. Where did he get the car? Was it yours, a friend's, stolen...what? It probably won't make much difference civilly...but, if a prosecutor can convince a jury that you (parents) knowingly allowed him access to the car, a criminal charge may be coming your way as well.
As to how soon he can get a driver's license...again, that is a TX specific answer. But, it could well be not until he turns 21. You can bet he will be considered a suspended driver for a minimum of a year (presuming conviction). That doesn't just mean he is prevented from getting a license. It means that his license is considered suspended and, if he is found to be driving, will be charged with driving on a suspended license rather than just being an unlicensed driver...that is a BIG difference. He may well have other restrictions (I'm thinking ignition interlock device) that could also be charged if he is found driving again.
I don't mean to sound like this is the end of the world. But, your son is in serious trouble (and I don't mean just legal trouble - it is apparent that there are other issues driving this behavior). My advice would be to get him a lawyer ASAP...and seek some professional advice regarding appropriate treatment for his obvious behavioral, mental health, and/or substance abuse problems.
Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.