Are DWI Penalties More Severe with a Child in the Car?

Posted by Doug Murphy | Aug 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

A Minnesota mother is facing charges of child endangerment and driving while impaired after police accused her of driving drunk. The woman was pulled over after running a red light and nearly causing a rear-end collision. Her two children, who were in the car at the time of her arrest, have been left in the care of their grandparents.

While the news story has certainly raised eyebrows, there is hope for parents arrested for driving while intoxicated. Accusations of drunk driving charges are always serious, and when kids are in the vehicle, there is certainly reason for concern. Their presence, however, doesn't necessarily mean that a felony charge of DWI with a child passenger is a hopeless legal situation.

Texas DWI with Child Passengers

Texas has an enhanced statute for DWI with a child passenger.  It's a felony for individuals to drive while impaired with a minor under the ages of 15 in the vehicle.  If arrested for DWI with a child passenger under 15 in the car, you can certainly expect more serious charges than if you had been alone without children. For instance, someone convicted of a first-time DWI while alone in the vehicle may face a Class B misdemeanor. When a child is present, however, the charges are automatically upgraded to state jail felony, regardless of whether or not it's a first-time DWI arrest.

If convicted, a person could spend a minimum of 180 days in jail. Automatic license suspension and expensive fines are also possible. Given how much is at stake, it's important to hire an experienced Texas DWI specialist as soon as possible.

Facing Child Endangerment Charges

People charged with drunk driving with a child in the car may also face potential scrutiny from Child Protective Services (CPS). This can be a frightening, anxiety-inducing experience, but it's important to remember that CPS aims to keep families together whenever possible. An investigation into a child's safety may indeed reveal that their lives are not at risk. Since child endangerment is a separate charge from the DWI, individuals will face legal action in both criminal and civil court.

The outcome of a DWI case can certainly impact cases handled by CPS and civil court. That's why it's crucial to solicit the help of a trusted Texas criminal defense lawyer who is a Board Certified DWI Specialist . There's simply too much at stake to risk going it alone. With an experienced attorney at your side, you'll gain powerful advocacy not just for you, but for your family.

Schedule Your Confidential Consultation Now

If you've been charged with a felony DWI with a child passenger, there's no time to waste. By acting quickly, you can protect your rights – including the custody rights to your child. Doug Murphy is a Board Certified DWI Specialist and an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer committed to representing clients in some of the most challenging moments of their lives. Contact Doug at 713-229-8333 to schedule your confidential consultation today.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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