According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is hurt or killed in an alcohol-induced crash every 20 minutes in Texas.
Needless to say, the state imposes strict penalties on people who are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). The repercussions escalate depending on the severity of the offense and may result in incarceration, fines of up to $10,000, loss of driver’s license and loss of job, not to mention legal expenses.
When someone is charged with DWI with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, the penalties escalate exponentially.
Here are some basic points to keep in mind if you’ve been arrested for DWI with a Child Passenger in Texas.
An Overview of the Charges
It’s important to note that child passengers under the age of 15 do not have any control over the vehicle, how it’s being driven, or how the ongoing situation is being handled.
In short, the driver is fully responsible for the child’s safety and well-being. If you are caught driving while intoxicated with a minor under the age of 15 present in the vehicle, you can be charged with child endangerment.
The offense is a state jail felony (SJF) that hold penalties that include:
- A fine of up to $10k
- Anywhere between 180 days to 2 years in a state jail
- Suspension of your driver’s license for up to 180 days
- In-car installation of breath alcohol ignition interlock device
- Community service
- Mandatory DWI education classes
Background of the Charges
Many people are unfamiliar with the extent of the charges, so they may take the offense lightly. According to Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code, you can be charged with DWI with a Child Passenger if you are intoxicated while driving a vehicle that includes a child passenger under the age of 15.
In Texas, you are considered legally intoxicated if you have a .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC). The charge also extends to people who are visibly intoxicated or impaired and cannot use their mental, emotional, or physical faculties properly because of alcohol consumption.
While you may not have caused yourself or the child(ren) any harm, you can still be charged with the offense if you are found to be legally intoxicated.
According to Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, you can be charged with child endangerment if you put a minor under the age of 15 in danger through reckless behavior or negligence. DWI with a child falls under this category and being charged with this crime could potentially cause you to lose custody of your child(ren).
If you have been arrested or charged with DWI with a Child Passenger, it’s important that you hire an attorney who will relentlessly fight for your rights. In this case, you children, your freedom, your reputation and your job are all at stake, so you need an aggressive legal defense strategy from an experienced DWI lawyer.
Houston’s relentless drunk driving defense attorney, J.L. (Jennifer) Carpenter, has the experience and expertise required to build an aggressive defense that will protect your rights. She represents clients throughout the Greater Houston area, including Clear Lake and Friendswood. Her goal is to get your case dismissed so that you can get on with your life.
Call 713-561-5931 to start your defense now.