DWI with Child Passenger

DWI with Child Passenger

Many states, including Texas, take DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges very seriously. DWIs are treated with such concern because of the potential that both the driver and others can be seriously harmed or killed due to a driver’s intoxication. Texas Penal Code 49.045 broadly defines what driving while intoxicated is under Texas law and other associated variants of the charge; DWI with a child passenger is included in this code. The penalties for “DWI with child passenger” are even more significant because the driver is placing not only themselves and other drivers or pedestrians in harm’s way, they are putting a child’s life in danger.

The Texas Penal Code defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol content of .08 or more or having one’s senses and ability to operate a vehicle impaired by alcohol or other drugs. One may be charged with “DWI with child passenger” if they are under the influence of alcohol at the above limitations or under the influence of drugs and have a child under fifteen in the car while driving.

Austin DWI with Child Passenger Lawyer | Travis County, TX

If you or a loved one were arrested for DWI with the added component of there being a child passenger present, [firm] can help you to properly manage that case and address the charge. Jackson F. Gorski at [firm] is an experienced criminal defense lawyer and an aggressive advocate for his clients. He can help you preserve your freedom and future.

Call [phone] to schedule your first consultation. Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown but accepts clients throughout Texas including Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Bastrop County, Burnett County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Blanco County, Lee County, Milam County, Hays County, and Caldwell County.


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DWI With Child Passenger Offense Penalties

As discussed above, Texas takes DWI with child passenger charges very seriously. As a result, the penalties associated with that charge are significant and life-changing. If a driver is convicted of a DWI with child passenger offense, they may face both civil and criminal penalties, including:

  • Mandatory registration in treatment and rehabilitation programs
  • A felony punishable by a minimum of 180 days to up to two years in jail
  • Surcharges to retain driver’s license amounting to at least $1000 per year but not more than $2000 for three years
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (a device where the operator’s blood alcohol content is measured and will not start if alcohol is detected) in the offender’s vehicle
  • A 180-day suspension of driver’s license

Anyone convicted of a DWI with child passenger offense in Texas faces some or all of these penalties. These penalties will even apply even if the child in the vehicle was unharmed. The penalties and consequences increase if the child was endangered or harmed, or the driver has prior DWI convictions. One of the most significant penalties that one may face when charged with a DWI with child passenger offense is also facing a child endangerment charge.


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Texas Child Endangerment And DWI With Child Passenger

Whether the child is harmed or not, a driver determined to be intoxicated while driving with a child under fifteen years old will likely face child endangerment charges. Under Texas Penal Code 22.041., child endangerment charges will be applied even if no harm comes to the child or anyone else; the law requires only that the driver be intoxicated and have a passenger under fifteen. If it is determined that the driver was intoxicated and had a passenger under fifteen, they will face additional criminal penalties. If this is the case, the driver may also face a civil case from Child Protective Services. The driver may ultimately lose custody of that child or other children if convicted.


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Collateral Consequences of DWI With Child Passenger Conviction

Apart from legal consequences, one convicted of a DWI with child passenger offense faces additional non-legal consequences that can have a substantial and far-reaching effect on one’s interests and daily life. Depending on the circumstances of the conviction, a driver convicted of DWI with child passenger may have difficulty with everyday activities like finding a job, getting or keeping professional licenses, obtaining financial assistance for higher education, or finding housing.

While a court does not order these consequences in legal proceedings, they can significantly inhibit the driver’s life. Additionally, suppose the DWI with child passenger offense is charged and convicted as a felony. In that case, the defendant loses important constitutional rights, including serving on a jury, voting, or bearing arms.


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Defenses To DWI With Child Passenger In Texas

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help defend against DWI with child passenger charges by challenging one or more aspects of the case. Texas prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all aspects of the DWI with child passenger case to properly achieve a conviction. An experienced lawyer will challenge the facts or evidence that the prosecution offers in support of their case.

Sobriety Tests

Sobriety tests can be administered when a driver is suspected of driving while intoxicated. Two types of sobriety tests and arguments against them are found below.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are several tests usually involving basic balance or coordination administered by the arresting officer to determine if one is intoxicated. However, these tests are incredibly subjective. Regardless of intoxication, some people are less coordinated than others or unable to perform those tasks as instructed. Nonetheless, police may improperly interpret the driver’s inability to perform these tasks as them being intoxicated.

Breath Or Blood Tests

Blood and breath tests are the primary means of determining whether one is intoxicated while driving. However, while the tests may accurately read or interpret blood alcohol concentration, many factors can alter the results of those tests. For example, some entirely legal and non-intoxicating substances may register as intoxication on a breathalyzer. For blood tests, many factors could contribute to a false positive BAC or the presence of drugs in their system. An experienced criminal defense attorney will argue that the tests are invalid because some other factor created invalid results, which led to the charges.


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Reasonableness Of The Stop And Arrest

Law enforcement must follow specific standards when stopping, arresting, and detaining those suspected of a crime. If the police do not follow these standards, the evidence associated with those arrests and detentions may be thrown out by the court because they violated those standards and laws. Suppose the defense attorney successfully argues to have the evidence suppressed. In that case, it cannot be used in the trial, and the prosecution may no longer be able to prove the elements of their case, leading to dismissal.


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Additional Resources

Texas Penal Code 49.045– This section outlines the law associated with DWIs, including DWI with child passenger.

Texas Penal Code Section 22.041(c)– Access Section 22 of the Texas Penal Code which outlines the law and process concerning establishing child endangerment associated with DWI.


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Georgetown DWI With a Child Passenger Attorney | Williamson County, TX

When a person is charged with DWI or any other criminal offense, it is best to contact a lawyer to learn more about your rights, your options, and that will provide legal representation to you immediately. This is especially true when addressing felony cases such as DWI with child passenger. With competent legal representation, you’re creating an environment in which you’ll have a strong chance to get the best outcome possible.

To retain experienced legal counsel, contact [firm] at [phone]. Attorney Jackson F. Gorski understands the difficulties that fighting a criminal charge can create in the lives of his clients. He can help you protect your rights.

Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has offices in Austin and Georgetown.


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