Penalties for DWI are harsh in the state of Texas, but some DWI cases involve aggravating circumstances that can result in separate criminal charges or enhanced penalties. Tex. Pen. Code § 49.045 provides for a separate criminal offense when individuals commit DWI with a passenger who is under the age of 15. Intoxication for DWI can mean either having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more or having consumed alcohol or drugs to the point that you do not have regular usage of your mental or physical faculties. You can face charges for this offense even if no one, including the child passenger, was injured during the incident.
In some cases, individuals will be unable to drive while their DWI with a child passenger case is pending. In other cases, as a condition of your bond, the court may require you to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, at your own cost. This is a machine that you must blow into for a measurement of your BAC before the car starts. If the ignition interlock device detects a certain level of alcohol, the vehicle will be disabled temporarily.
The court also is likely to order you to refrain from consuming any alcohol or using any controlled substances without a prescription. You may have to undergo random alcohol and drug testing to ensure that you comply with this order in some circumstances.
DWI with a child passenger is a state jail felony offense, which can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a sentence of incarceration ranging from 180 days to two years. As a result, individuals convicted of this crime also will lose some of their civil rights, such as the right to vote and possess firearms. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.