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Are Penalties More Severe if I Am Arrested For DWI and My Child Was in the Vehicle?

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Hays County criminal defense attorney

In today’s world, most people realize that it is extremely irresponsible and reckless to operate a vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For decades, state and federal agencies have pushed campaign after campaign to attempt to decrease the number of drunk driving arrests that occur each year. While the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has decreased in past years, the number of DWI arrests still remains high. Penalties for DWI can be severe in Texas, but they can become even more serious when a child is in the vehicle when you are arrested

DWI Charges for Driving With a Child

In the state of Texas, driving a vehicle with a child in it while under the influence, can bring upon a charge separate from that of a regular DWI charge. To be charged with DWI with a child passenger, the prosecution must prove that you were:

  • Intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and

  • Simultaneously transporting a child who is under the age of 15.

DWI with a child in the vehicle is charged as a state jail felony, even if it is your first offense. If you are convicted of DWI with a child in the vehicle, you face between 180 days and two years in a state jail and up to $10,000 in additional fines.

Potential Child Endangerment Charges

Another potential consequence of DWI with a child in the vehicle is child endangerment charges. In texas, you can be charged with child endangerment if you, “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence...engage in conduct that places a imminent danger of death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment.” A child endangerment charge for DWI with a child in the vehicle is also prosecuted as a state jail felony with the potential for an additional $10,000 in fines and up to two more years in jail.

Discuss Your Situation With a Texas DWI Defense Attorney

Most parents only want what is best for their child, even if they make a grave mistake such as driving with their child in the vehicle after they have been drinking. If you have been arrested or charged with DWI while your child was in the vehicle, you should speak to an Austin, TX DWI defense lawyer as soon as you can. At Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, we understand that everyone makes mistakes from time to time and will do everything in our power to help you correct that mistake and prevent it from affecting your future. To learn how we can help you, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Call us today at 512-474-2222.




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