Driving while intoxicated can land some heavy charges in the state of Texas. First and second time offenders will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, receive heavy fines, probation, and 30 days – 1 year in jail. Repeat offenders face a Third Degree Felony charge, along with up to 2 years in jail. If you are being charged with a D.W.I. while transporting a child passenger, the penalties are much heavier. If you or someone you know has been charged with any of these crimes, reach out to our experienced dwi lawyer at The Law Office of Matthew Shrum for legal consultation.
Penalties for Driving Drunk with a Child Passenger in Austin, TX
Texas law classifies a person as intoxicated if they have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. You may be charged with this offense without a recorded B.A.C. level if you are clearly impaired by any substance, lacking otherwise common physical or mental capabilities.
To be convicted of a D.W.I. with a Child Passenger, under Texas Penal Code: Section 49.045, you must be operating a vehicle while under the influence and attempting to transport anyone under 15 years of age. Penalties for this charge include a fine of up to $10,000, no less than 180 days or no more than 2 years jail time, up to 1,000 hours of community service and suspension of your drivers license for up to 180 days. Along with the suspension of your license you will face an annual three year surcharge fee between $1,000 and $2,000 that must be paid in full in order to reinstate your driving rights, and you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle prior to your license renewal. It is likely that you will need to complete D.W.I. education classes as well. Additional consequences under conviction of a D.W.I. with a Child Passenger include losing your right to possess a firearm, voting privileges, access to certain forms of government assistance, changes in custody or visitation rights and an inability to gain employment under certain professions. Unique to each circumstance, an added charge of child endangerment may be given as well. This can greatly impact your parental rights as charges are often considered during custody and parental court proceedings. Continue reading for more information on this charge and how the Law Office of Matthew Shrum can help.
Child Endangerment charges may be filed against you dependent upon the details of your crime. As stated under Texas Penal Code: Section 22.041.c, child endangerment is considered when an individual intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal intent, by act or omission, engages in behavior and places a minor of 15 years of age or less in danger of death, injury, or physical or mental impairment. Once convicted of a child endangerment charge, the Texas Department of Family Services or TDFS may be involved. At this time, the child endangerment charge will be handled separately from any other criminal charges such as D.W.I with a Child Passenger.
More Consequences of Getting a DWI with a Child In the Car
Your license may automatically be suspended if you fail or refuse to adhere to a blood or breath test in the state of Texas. Like child endangerment, this matter is handled separately from criminal charges. Once you receive a notice of suspension, the accused has 15 days to request an administrative license revocation hearing. Failure to do so will result in an automatic suspension of your license if you failed a blood or breath test, or simply refused to take one at the time of the incident. In the event of a conviction for a D.W.I with a Child Passenger probation is also a possibility. The judge should consider the number of violations during the incident, repetitive or non-repetitive behavior specific to the accused along with a number of other factors to determine if probation is suitable. Some jail time is usually required even with probation granted, given the severity of the situation.
Contact Us If You’ve Been Charged With a DWI with a Child Passenger in the Car
No matter the nature of your case, The Law Office of Matthew Shrum is equipped with the legal tools, knowledge and expertise needed during your time of need. Please do not hesitate to contact us by any of the means mentioned below to set up a free consultation and find out just how our firm can assist you. Our working hours are Monday-Saturday 9am until 5pm with 24/7 jail release assistance. Email us or call us at 512-777-0000 to speak with iur criminal defense lawyer in Austin.