The penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a child passenger are severe and could see you being charged with child endangerment if the minor is under the age of 15 years old in some circumstances. The offense, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, may be punishable by:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- A sentence of up to two years in a state jail
- Driver’s license suspension of 180 days
You may also face:
- A permanent criminal record
- DWI education classes
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in some cases
Being charged with such an offense can have devastating effects on your future and could impact your rights as a parent. A conviction on your record can also affect you adversely when applying for loans, housing, and employment.
If you or a loved one faces charges of a DWI with a child passenger, you are likely worried about what to do and who can help at this difficult time. You do not have to face this challenging situation alone, as you have the right to fair legal representation. A lawyer can be an invaluable ally who can fight to protect your rights and represent your interests in court.
Understanding Charges for a DWI With a Minor in the Car
A DWI charge with a child passenger is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 49 as a person operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated with a passenger on board who is younger than 15 years of age. The law describes intoxication as:
- Having a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more, or
- Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs
You can still be charged with a crime even if you did not injure anyone, including the child passenger, during the operation of your vehicle.
With so much at stake when facing penalties for a DWI with a child passenger, working with a defense lawyer who can challenge the charges you face may help protect you and your family during this difficult time.
Other Possible Consequences
In addition to criminal charges, driving while intoxicated with a minor can be considered a form of child endangerment, which is viewed as an offense under the Texas Penal Code Section 22.041(c) if one “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”
If this is the case, you could also find yourself facing devastating civil proceedings by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The consequences could mean your child being removed from your custody.
Acting quickly and choosing legal counsel could make all the difference to the charges and penalties you face, depending on your circumstances. In some cases, there may be options to avoid conviction or have your charges reduced. While there is no guarantee this will happen for everyone, discussing your options with a DWI defense law firm may be invaluable.
Defenses That May Help You Fight a DWI Charge
A lawyer may help you fight your charges by using defenses that are appropriate to your circumstances. Examples of such arguments could include demonstrating to the court that:
- You were not intoxicated at the time of the incident or arrest
- There were errors with the field sobriety tests
- The results of the chemical test were inaccurate
- Protocols were not followed correctly during the arrest
- There was a lack of reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle
Your defense lawyer may look for any discrepancies in the evidence against you and put their knowledge and experience to work for you during this difficult time.
Act Today and Find Legal Support to Protect You and Your Family
If you or a loved one has been arrested or is facing charges for a DWI with a child passenger, the legal defense team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg is ready to hear your case today and discuss your options. It is vital to act quickly, as the sooner you call, the sooner we can begin working on your situation and looking at possible defense strategies.
With 30 years of experience, attorney Randy Isenberg is a board-certified former Senior Chief Felony Prosecutor and State District Trial Judge. He imparts his knowledge and experience to our team, which can serve to benefit your case. You do not have to face this battle alone. Talk to us in a free case review at (214) 696-9253 today and find out how we can support you during these trying times.