This week, a Jefferson County court sentenced a Beaumont, Texas man to 18 years in prison after a July 4, 2018, drunk driving accident that killed a three-year-old boy and seriously injured his two-year-old sister. The children's family was returning home from an Independence Day firework show when another driver ran a stop sign and broadsided their SUV. The driver struck the SUV with such force that it pushed the SUV off the road and into the yard of a nearby church. He originally refused a field sobriety test but was taken to the hospital with internal injuries, where police obtained a blood test.
The driver originally faced an indictment on Nov. 7, 2018, for intoxication assault and second-degree felony intoxication manslaughter. At the time, he was also serving ten years of probation for a 2016 charge of assault family violence. The driver pled guilty to a charge of intoxication manslaughter in exchange for dismissal of the intoxication assault and assault family violence charges.
DWI Charges When a Child is Injured
If you're facing a DWI, you're undoubtedly scared and worried about what happens next. But when a child is also injured in your DWI-related accident, you know how terrifying this all can be. It's important to concentrate on what you can control – hiring an experienced DWI attorney. This arrest is a serious matter, and you need to prepare for what's to come.
DWI With a Child in the Car
In Texas, a DWI with a child under 15 in the car is a separate charge. While a first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, DWI with a child in the car is a state jail felony charge. See Tex. Penal Code § 49.045 (2003). In addition to penalties for a DWI, you could face a minimum jail sentence of 180 days to two years, up to 1,000 hours of community service, a fine of up to $10,000, an alcohol or drug education class, attendance at DWI school, and more. If the child was injured in an accident, the penalties can be more severe.
If someone is seriously injured as a result of a DWI accident, you can face charges of DWI assault in addition to your DWI charge. Texas law defines a serious injury as an injury that “creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Tex. Penal Code § 49.07(1)(b) (2007). Intoxication assault is a third-degree penalty, but the charges become more serious if someone ends up in a vegetative state or you injure a police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel in the line of duty.
Hire an Experienced Houston-Area DWI Attorney
Injuring a child in an accident can be horrifying under the best of circumstances. Still, if you're facing a DWI charge on top of an injury to a child, it's important to remember that you are still innocent until proven guilty. But this is a serious matter, and you need an attorney who is an expert in DWI defense with experience handling complicated DWI cases.
Attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas attorneys Board Certified in DWI defense and criminal law. Doug is Board Certified in DUI Defense by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Moreover, he has a proven track record of successfully defending those facing serious DWI assault and manslaughter charges. Best Lawyers in America also named Doug the “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021 for DWI defense. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation.