The Best Defense Strategies Are Based In Experience

Being cited for DWI in Texas with a minor in the car

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | DWI

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is treated as a serious criminal offense in Texas. However, the stakes are significantly higher if a motorist is cited for DWI with a minor in their car. Under Texas law, having a child passenger while committing a DWI can result in heightened penalties and additional charges beyond those that would be handed down in a “standard” DWI case without any aggravating factors impacting the situation. 

In Texas, a driver can be charged with “DWI with a child passenger,” which is considered a separate and more serious offense than impaired driving alone. This charge can be levied if a minor in the car is under the age of 15

Penalties for DWI with a Child Passenger

The penalties for DWI with a child passenger in Texas are harsher than those handed down in standard DWI charge cases. According to Texas Penal Code Section 49.045, DWI with a child passenger is classified as a state jail felony. The potential consequences of this offense include:

  • Jail time: A conviction can result in a sentence of 180 days to two years in a state jail facility
  • Fines: The fines can be as high as $10,000
  • Driver’s license suspension: A conviction can lead to an automatic suspension of a motorist’s driver’s license for up to 180 days
  • Child endangerment: This charge can also trigger child protective services (CPS) involvement, which might lead to an investigation into the child’s welfare and possibly affect custody or visitation rights

Collateral consequences of a conviction for this offense can include increased insurance rates, employment challenges and social stigma. 

With so much at stake, it is wise for those charged with this aggravated offense to seek personalized legal guidance as soon as possible.