As adults too young to drink legally, 17- to 20-year-olds fall into a special category in Texas: “minor adults,” says the Dallas Morning News. They can be ticketed for infractions such as merely being around alcohol; but, if arrested for driving while intoxicated, they are treated as adults. Juveniles can’t go to jail, their blood cannot be tested without permission, and their records can’t be disclosed. Even when drinking and driving, they’re usually only ticketed, and the system offers them numerous breaks.
Minor adults, like all adults, can be required to take blood alcohol tests, or their refusal can be used against them. They can be held in jail, with older, hardened criminals. The offense stays on the record forever. Minor adults pose a challenge for the criminal justice system: They’re more likely to drink harder and faster, and they’re more likely to re-offend – but they often avoid the help the system offers by taking jail time instead of probation with treatment.