Parents need their R&R. Some mothers might even argue that a glass of wine is essential after a long day of caring for children, preparing meals and working. But without self-control, it’s easy to develop a habit that leads to a serious drinking problem. A parent caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a child in the car could face serious repercussions.
What constitutes a DWI?
A DWI is a misdemeanor in Texas and applies when a person operates a motor vehicle while their mental or physical faculties are impaired by alcohol or drugs. The state may prosecute a person for DWI if their breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or above.
Penalties for DWI
The penalties for a standard DWI violation include fines, license suspension up to a year and jail time. But a DWI with a child below 15 can elevate the offense to a felony and carry harsher penalties.
A person facing a DWI with a minor passenger may be subject to the following:
- Fines up to $10,000
- Jail time up to 2 years
- Loss of driver’s license for 90 days to two years
- Mandatory rehabilitation programs
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on the vehicle
The consequences of drinking and driving with a child may extend beyond these penalties. Statistics show that around 229 children under the age of 15 were involved in fatal car accidents involving an intoxicated driver in 2020. Therefore, the law does not look too kindly on adults who knowingly risk the safety of children.
Parents who drive with their children after drinking may additionally face child endangerment charges and a civil case with Child Protective Services (CPS). On top of these, they may also face job loss, reputational damage and child custody problems.
While alcohol may temporarily relieve a parent’s stress, there may be healthier methods to de-stress and decompress. No exhausted parent wants to deal with the nightmare of a DWI arrest with their child. If that happens, a lawyer may provide advice and assistance on how to proceed.