A Houston man was arrested for driving while intoxicated on August 21, 2019, after witnesses spotted him driving without one of the front tires. The man's problems deepened from there when law enforcement discovered a small child in the car.
Deputies for the Harris County Sheriff's Office arrested 24-year-old Fernando Axel Garcia late in the evening of August 21, 2019. Law enforcement was notified of an Infiniti G35 driving erratically. The report also indicated the vehicle was driving on at least one tireless rim.
Deputies encountered Garcia on the 12100 block of Veterans Memorial. Garcia was pulled over to the side of the road and was standing in front of his vehicle while looking at the destroyed tire. The police report alleges the officers administered a field sobriety test and detected an odor of an intoxicating beverage on Garcia's breath.
Upon arriving on the scene, law enforcement also discovered Garcia's one-year-old child in the back seat of the vehicle. The child was also allegedly not restrained safely. Law enforcement then arrested Garcia for DWI with a passenger under the age of 15. Garcia's child was released into the custody of a family member. The charge Garcia faces is a felony due to the increased penalty for having a child passenger in the car while driving under the influence.
DWI and Child Endangerment in Houston
The charge of DWI with a child passenger is one of the most severe alcohol-related charges in Texas. Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 12 § 49.045, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle on a public road while intoxicated with a child under the age of 15 in the car. A DWI with a child passenger is a felony. In many cases, the underlying DWI charge would have been a misdemeanor if it were not for the child passenger.
The potential penalties for a DWI with a child passenger include:
- Between 180 days and two years in jail
- Maximum fine of up to $10,000
- Up to 1,000 hours of community service
- Installation of an interlock device
- Completing an alcohol education course
- Court costs and fees.
Additionally, a DWI with a child passenger charge could lead to a visit from child protection services (CPS). Under state law, driving drunk with a child in the car amounts to child endangerment, and CPS will investigate to ensure the home environment is safe for the child.
While the accused in this case had a family member that was able to take custody of the child at the scene of the arrest, that is not always the case. Children without a family member on scene to take them home could be taken into CPS custody until a guardian can pick them up.
Fight the Houston DWI Charges Against You
The consequences of a DWI charge in Harris County can be threatening, especially if a child was allegedly in the car. However, an arrest does not guarantee a conviction. If you are ready to fight the charges against you, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.