Texas law takes driving while intoxicated (DWI) very seriously. While a first offense DWI is typically a misdemeanor, a conviction can still bring serious consequences. In some situations, even a first DWI can be a felony due to aggravating factors. One aggravating factor is having a passenger under the age of 15 in the car at the time of the DWI. In fact, this becomes a different offense of “driving while intoxicated with child passenger.”
When a police officer pulls you over, they can see if you have younger passengers, and this will immediately escalate the situation if the officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated. If you were arrested and charged with this DWI offense, you need an Austin DWI defense attorney on your side as soon as possible.
Like every criminal offense, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. The elements of DWI with a child passenger are as follows:
Prosecutors must prove all these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction for DWI with a child passenger.
If charged with this offense, you need to seek legal representation from an experienced DWI defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can examine the evidence, challenge any weak points in the prosecution’s case, and work to protect your rights and interests throughout the legal process.
In Texas, DWI with a child passenger is a serious offense with severe consequences. Some penalties you might experience for a conviction include the following.
DWI with a child passenger is a state jail felony in Texas. A felony conviction carries significant weight and can have long-lasting consequences on your life, including limitations on employment opportunities, housing, and more. Under federal law, a felony conviction prohibits you from possessing a firearm.
The fines for DWI with a child passenger are considerably higher than those for a regular DWI offense. Convicted individuals can face fines of up to $10,000, depending on the circumstances of the case.
A conviction for DWI with a child passenger can result in incarceration in a state jail facility for a period of up to two years. The presence of a child passenger elevates the seriousness of the offense and leads to longer potential jail sentences.
The driver’s license can be suspended for up to 180 days as a result of a DWI with a child passenger conviction. This suspension can severely impact the defendant’s ability to drive legally and lead to logistical challenges in daily life.
After the license suspension period ends, the court may require the installation of an ignition interlock device on the defendant’s vehicle. This device requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the car, ensuring they are not intoxicated while driving.
A felony conviction for DWI with a child passenger results in a permanent criminal record. Having a felony on their record can hinder the defendant’s future opportunities and create barriers in various aspects of life.
When a child is present in the vehicle during a DWI arrest, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) may investigate the situation. Child Protective Services (CPS) may assess the child’s safety and well-being and may take appropriate actions to protect the child’s interests.
A DWI with a child passenger conviction can significantly impact child custody arrangements and family matters. Family courts may view the conviction as a factor when determining custody and visitation rights.
DWI with a child passenger is a serious offense that can have far-reaching consequences on your life and future. The best way to avoid these severe penalties is to avoid a conviction altogether. Your first step should be to speak with our DWI defense team.
A defense lawyer can play a crucial role in protecting your rights and future. Facing any DWI charge can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, as it may lead to severe consequences, such as hefty fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. However, hiring a skilled DWI defense lawyer can significantly improve the chances of a favorable outcome.
Our attorneys can review the details of the case, including evidence, police reports, and witness statements, to identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Armed with this knowledge, we can develop a strong defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances of your case.
We seek ways to challenge the prosecution’s evidence that you were intoxicated and identify whether the police violated your constitutional rights in a manner that can help your defense. Our team works to minimize the consequences of your charges in any way possible.
If you are facing charges of DWI with a child passenger, you risk your future by not hiring the right lawyer. Contact the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, in Austin for the assistance and representation you need.