A DWI Lawyer in Houston TX Covers The Consequences Of Driving Drunk With Kids In The Vehicle
The legislature in Texas goes to great lengths to protect the safety of kids statewide, and this is particularly true in the context of drunk driving when children are present. This type of conduct is never acceptable, and the reasons are obvious. However, the techniques used to identify when a DWI has occurred are far from perfect, regardless of whether children are involved. As such, high-quality parents may end up in serious legal jeopardy for a crime they did not in fact commit. No matter whether you feel you are innocent or perhaps at fault, it is necessary to become familiar with what a DWI with a child present actually entails and how a DWI lawyer in Houston tx can help safeguard your future. How often are charges of this nature lodged? The bottom line is that 47 out of 50 states in the union have distinct criminal charges for drunk driving while a child is present. Texas is among the 42 states imposing more stringent penalties for DWIs involving child occupants. The Texas statute codifying those DWI penalties was enacted in 2003. Who qualifies as a “child” passenger under Texas Law? Many are unsure as to what age range triggers the enhanced DWI charge. It is not surprising that there is a lack of clarity surrounding this issue, because each state has its own definitions that must be learned.
DWI With Child Passenger: Texas Penalties
A DWI arrest is always an intimidating event, from the sobriety testing done at the scene to subsequent breath or blood testing. DWI penalties are always strict, but when a kid is in the car, they can escalate rapidly. Drunk driving charges that involve a child passenger are unique unto themselves, and the prospective sanctions are more serious in nature than a typical DWI would bring. First-time DWI offenders are often charged with a Class B misdemeanor if no child is present, but if a youngster is in the car, the same conduct rises to a state jail-eligible felony.
Full Scope Of DWI Punishments When A Child Is Present:
Offenders under such circumstances can anticipate a state jail felony term of incarceration lasting no less than 180 days, though no greater than 2 years. There will also likely be a license suspension of 180 days that is automatically imposed. Upwards of $10,000 in monetary fines can be levied, and license surcharge fees between $1,000 and $2,000 will be assessed for three years. Subsequent offenses of the same type will bring even more onerous punishments, with a child endangerment enhancement raising the stakes higher.
CPS, Child Endangerment, And DUIs
There must be no mistaking the fact that driving drunk while a child is present in the vehicle is a universally bad decision. Should the aforementioned punishments not represent a sufficient deterrent, consider something else as well. Child Protective Services in Texas may also move to seize custody of your children under such scenarios. According to provisions of the Texas Penal Code, child endangerment is when a child under the age of 15 is placed at risk of injury, death, or physical impairment. If you find yourself needing to hire a DWI Lawyer in Houston TX for legal representation, click here.
The Family Code of Texas also mandates that certain categories of professionals report neglect when they suspect it has or is occurring. DWI charges and convictions in Texas have the power to bring about a whole host of negative consequences, and those that involve child passengers have the ability to impact custodial agreements, visitation rights, and much more. It should be noted that any CPS case stemming from suspected child neglect or endangerment is a distinct matter from a DWI case and any administrative action regarding licensing. Therefore, it is always best to secure the advice and guidance of an experienced family lawyer in Texas whenever such issues arise.