DWI with a child passenger is a serious charge that occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle in a public place and the vehicle that he or she is operating is occupied by a passenger who is under 18 years of age.
A conviction for DWI with a child passenger can result in the following penalties under Texas law:
· Fines of up to $10,000
· Incarceration ranging from 180 days to two years
· Driver’s license suspension ranging from 90 days to two years
· Annual surcharge fee of $1,000 to $2,000 each year for three years
Since DWI with a child passenger is a felony offense, you also will forfeit some civil rights, including the right to vote and the right to possess a firearm.
Although you are likely to be released on bond following charges of DWI on a child passenger, you also are likely to face significant restrictions. For instance, you may be prohibited from driving, drinking, and using controlled substances while out on bond. In other cases, you may be subject to random drug tests. The court also could order you to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle as a condition of your ability to drive in this situation.
Due to the severity of this charge, you could face collateral consequences of a DWI with a child passenger charge, as well. Since professionals are required to report child neglect under Texas law, a DWI with a child passenger charge could result in a report to Texas Child Protective Services (CPS). If CPS becomes involved with your family and opens a case, they could remove your child from your custody due to the dangerous situation in which you placed the child. You also could face a custody challenge from your child’s other parent, alleging that you are no longer fit to have custody of the child.
If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that you raise all relevant defenses. At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you any accusations of wrongdoing that you may be facing. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.