DWI: What if My Kid Was in the Car?

As a licensed driver in Texas, you’re well-aware of the fact that it’s against the law to drive a motor vehicle (or boat, or motorcycle) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. What you may not realize, however, is that you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a lower BAC and that it’s illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child in the vehicle.

In Texas, driving under the influence with children in your vehicle is highly frowned upon. If you’re pulled over for DWI and the officer sees that there is a child inside your vehicle, you can be charged with child endangerment if you are carrying a child passenger who is age 14 or younger. DWI with a child passenger, a separate criminal offense, leads to the following penalties:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Up to two years behind bars
  • 180-day driver license suspension

Which law applies? Child endangerment is covered under Section 22.041 of the Texas Penal Code, Abandoning or Endangering a Child. Under Sect. 22.041(c), it states: “A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”

Texas lawmakers feel that when parents and other adults drink and drive with children in their vehicles, they are placing the children’s safety and lives at risk, hence, people who do are charged with endangering a child, on top of their standard DWI charges.

The penalties for a simple DWI include:

  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to one year license suspension
  • An annual fee up to $2,000 for three years to keep driver license

Are you a parent who is facing DWI and child endangerment charges in Plano, Dallas or Fort Worth? If so, how would a conviction for each charge affect you and your family? Surely, a conviction would come at a great price. To protect your future and your family, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC at once.

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