What Happens if I Get a DWI With a Minor in the Car in Texas?

parent and child silhouette near car

Facing a DWI charge in Texas carries many intense penalties. However, it’s also important to understand that if you are discovered drinking and driving with a child in the car, the penalties you face can be even more intense. As such, it’s imperative to understand the consequences of a DWI with a minor in the vehicle and how Houston DWI defense attorneys can help you explore your legal options to fight for the best possible outcome for your circumstances.

What Are the Penalties for a DWI With a Minor?

Driving while intoxicated is already an intense crime in the Lone Star State, as it’s charged as a Class B misdemeanor carrying the potential for one year in prison, expensive fines, and community service. However, if you are caught driving with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle while you are under the influence, the courts will take this even more seriously. This is because they consider this a particularly heinous offense.

As such, you will face a state jail felony for a first-offense DWI with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle. Though this is the lowest level felony you can face, it is still a felony. You will face a minimum of 180 days in a state jail facility with the potential for up to two years, a fine of up to $10,000, a 180-day license suspension, and mandatory participation in an alcohol education course.

You should also know that if you are charged with this offense, the police will report you to Child Protective Services. This is because you will likely also face a child endangerment charge, which is a related criminal offense. As such, CPS will launch an investigation into you that can impact your custody rights.

Do I Have Any Legal Options?

If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated with a child passenger in the vehicle, it’s important to understand your legal rights during these matters. Unfortunately, you’ll find that many assume there is nothing they can do and accept the full extent of the law. However, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you explore your options. They may be able to advise you of the possibility of a plea bargain or a way to prove your innocence. For example, they may be able to prove the officer had no reason for the stop and thus conducted an unconstitutional search and seizure. Similarly, they may be able to show that the breathalyzer device used to collect your BAC was defective, thus producing a false reading.

As you can see, connecting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical for these matters. At the Gonzalez Law Group, we understand how overwhelming these matters can be, which is why we are dedicated to exploring all options for our clients. Connect with us today to learn how we can fight for you during these challenging times.