If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a child passenger, you could face fines, jail time, and other collateral consequences.
Per Texas Penal Code §49.04, a DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. However, having a child passenger, for example, changes the nature of the charge completely, enhancing your DWI from a misdemeanor to a felony. Penalties for a DWI can have collateral consequences and impact your personal and professional life.
Legal Penalties for a DWI With a Child Passenger
If you are convicted of a DWI with a child passenger, per the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), you could face:
- Fines: Normally, the fine for a first-time DWI offense would be $2,000. If you have a child in the car, however, that fine could instead cost you up to $10,000.
- Jail time: Jail time is often not a worry for a first-time DWI offense. However, a DWI with a child passenger can result in a state jail sentence of up to two years.
- Loss of license: A DWI charge can already result in a driver losing their license for up to a year. If you have a child in the car at the time of your arrest and you are convicted, you can lose your license for another 180 days in addition to that.
- Community supervision: Instead of jail time, a DWI charge could result in community supervision, also known as probation. This requires an offender to follow all of the terms and conditions of probation, which typically include checking in with a probation officer periodically and avoiding committing any other criminal offenses.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device: An interlock device prevents you from starting your car if a specified level of alcohol is detected. For someone on probation for a DWI, this level is usually 0.00. It is essentially an in-car breathalyzer that requires you to be sober.
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Consequences Extend Outside the Legal System
Unfortunately, penalties for a DWI can extend beyond imprisonment, fines, and license suspension. You can be punished in the court of law for your DWI, but you can also be punished in your professional and personal life. If you are found guilty of driving while intoxicated with a child passenger in your vehicle, consequences could include:
- Loss of professional license
- Job loss
- Issues in custody cases
- Damage to your reputation
- An increase in car insurance premiums
- A civil suit against you, if someone else was harmed by your negligence
A DWI charge can completely upend your life and cause lasting damage. That is why you need a lawyer who is going to work to formulate a robust defense.
Why Hiring a Lawyer Can Help
A DWI lawyer in Houston, TX, from our firm can do everything possible to protect yourself from these penalties. Your attorney can:
Formulate Your Defense and Gather Counterevidence
Your attorney will gather evidence that refutes the state’s case against you. We can show that the police had no reason to stop you or that the equipment or method the police used to test your blood alcohol content was faulty. Anything that shows that the state’s case is not as tight as they want to think can be introduced as evidence in your defense.
Handle All Communications
Your lawyer will handle any communications for you. We will control the situation and help ensure that you do not incriminate yourself or make a mistake that puts you into more legal jeopardy.
Work to Clear Your Record
If the DWI charge is dismissed, a lawyer from our firm can help you clear up your record with an expunction. Legal penalties are not the only worry in a case like this.
A DWI charge, even one that you beat, can affect your personal and professional life. Your lawyer will help you keep your record clean.
Evaluate Plea Deals
If it does not appear that things will go your way and result in an acquittal, your lawyer can assist you by evaluating plea deals and fighting to help you avoid the worst legal consequences. They will fight every detail on your behalf no matter what kind of outcome looks likely.
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Learn More About Your Legal Options With Our Attorneys
If you have been charged for a DWI with a child passenger in your vehicle, you have a right to have a legal advocate on your side. Call (713) 225-1900 to learn more about your legal options. An attorney can fight this DWI charge.
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