A DWI charge in Texas can result in serious consequences, including jail time. But when you face DWI with a child passenger Texas, it is a felony charge and the penalties are going to be more severe. This charge occurs when you are driving while intoxicated and have a minor below 15 years as a passenger in your vehicle. If you are arrested for this offense, you should contact a competent DWI attorney Houston at the first opportunity to obtain correct legal advice.
How the Law Defines this Charge
The law recognizes that a young child occupant of a vehicle does not have operational control over it, and is dependent on the driver for his or her safety. According to Section 49 of the Texas Penal Code, the charge of DWI with a child passenger Texas will occur when you are operating an automobile in a public place while you are intoxicated and have a minor under the age of 15 in your vehicle.
If your BAC level is found to be 0.08 or above, or it is determined that you were incapable of using your physical or mental faculties because you had taken alcohol or drugs, you will be charged with a DWI crime. The charge becomes a felony when you have a child passenger in this condition, no matter if nobody was injured or if you were not involved in an accident.
Penalties for this Felony
Penalties for this state jail felony are harsh, and you will need to have a knowledgeable DWI attorney Houston on your side to protect your rights. The penalties for DWI with a child passenger may include:
Jail time of 180 days to 2 years
Loss of driving privileges for up to 180 days
Up to $10,000 in fines
Community service of up to 1,000 hours
DWI education classes
Having an ignition interlock device installed in your car
A 3-year surcharge fee (to be paid every year) from $1,000 to $2,000 to have a valid driver’s license
A conviction for DWI with a child passenger Texas will also have collateral consequences, which may include:
Inability to get employed in certain jobs
Unfavorable changes to your child custody order
Loss of rights to child visitation
Prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm
Inability to obtain certain types of government assistance
Removal of voting privileges
When you are charged with DWI with a minor passenger, you may additionally face a civil CPS (Child Protective Services) charge. Child endangerment under Texas law occurs when you place a child under 15 at risk of death, physical impairment, or injury.
This civil case could lead to a loss of child custody and visitation rights. As a parent, you would not wish to in this unpleasant situation and that’s why you need the best possible criminal defense to fight the DWI charges.
Choose a DWI Attorney Houston who will Fight for You
A felony-level DWI charge in Texas is extremely serious, and your best bet would be to work as a top-rated DWI lawyer to protect your rights. The ace DWI defense attorneys at Flood-Lewis & Associates have an exceptional performance record of victories in DWI cases. Call us 24/7, 365 at 713.224.5529 to obtain a free case review or write to us online to set up a free consultation.