DWI and Child Endangerment Charges in Texas

If you are pulled over with a BAC of between .08 and .15, you may be charged and convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, even if it is your first offense. If convicted, you may be punished by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of $2,000, or both. If you are arrested with a BAC of .15 or higher, the offense jumps to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. However, whether you blow a BAC of .08 or .15, if you have a child in the car, you may be charged with a felony for child endangerment.

A child endangerment and DWI charge is extremely serious and carries significant consequences. In addition to mandatory jail time, you risk losing your child to CPS. For this reason alone, you should hire a skilled Dallas DWI lawyer to help you fight the charges. At the very least, the right attorney can get the charges against you reduced to a simple DWI. At best, he or she can fight to have the charges dismissed entirely.

Penalties for DWI With a Child Passenger

All states have laws against driving under the influence with a child in the car, but every state’s laws are different. In Texas, if you are arrested for DWI with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, you will be charged with a state felony. If convicted, you face anywhere from between 180 days to two years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, suspended driving privileges, or all three. This is the case even for first time offenders.

However, Texas, like most other states, can tack on additional charges or even bump the crime from a state felony to a higher crime class under certain circumstances. For instance, if

  • A driver has prior felony convictions;
  • A driver has previous DWI convictions;
  • A child passenger is injured in a DWI crash;
  • A DWI accident victim sustains seriously bodily injury; and/or
  • A passenger or pedestrian is killed because of the driver’s impairment

the driver could face far more serious charges than DWI and child endangerment. Some additional charges include serious bodily injury (SBI), intoxication assault, habitual criminal offender, or even manslaughter. Any additional charges would mean greater fines and more jail time.

CPS May be Called

Under Texas Law, authorities are required to call Child Protective Services in DWI cases that involve children. If you are currently in a shared parenting agreement, this could negatively impact your ability to retain custody and can complicate child visitation. If you do not have any family members in the area or anyone willing and able to care for your child, your little one may be forced to stay in the custody of CPS.

Call a Dallas DWI Attorney

A DWI with a child passenger is much more serious than a standard DWI, and, depending on your prior record and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, they could be much worse. Do not take your charges lightly. Reach out to Clark Law Group to begin building your defense today.