A standard driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense is criminalized under Section 49.045 of the Texas Penal Code. However, if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs and you have a child passenger who is younger than 15-years-of-age, you can be prosecuted under Sec. 49.045, driving while intoxicated with child passenger, a state jail felony offense.
Penalties for DWI with a child passenger:
- You could be fined up to $10,000
- Up to two years behind bars
- Your license can be suspended for up to 180 days
DWI With a Child Passenger
Generally, mothers and fathers are the ones who are charged with child endangerment under Sec. 49.045 of the Texas Penal Code. Here are some examples of how parents, grandparents, and significant others of parents are charged under Sec. 49.045:
- A mom and dad had a couple of drinks at dinner with the family. On their way home from the restaurant, the father (who is driving) is arrested for DWI and their five-year-old child happens to be in the vehicle.
- On the way home from a family barbeque, a father is arrested for DWI while his wife and children are in the vehicle.
- A mother has a couple glasses of wine at a work lunch. Afterward, she picks her twelve-year-old daughter up from school and on her way home, she’s arrested for DWI.
- A couple has a few drinks while riding on their friend’s boat with the family. Afterward, the family climbs in the couple’s SUV. The mom drives the family home from the lake and two blocks from the house, she’s pulled over for DWI. She’s arrested and charged under Sec. 49.045 because her three kids were in the SUV at the time of the DWI arrest.
As you can only imagine, it’s very easy for moms and dads and close friends of the family to face criminal charges for DWI with a child passenger. Unfortunately, state jail felony charges are very serious and can impact the offender’s family and more specifically, their children. This is especially the case if the offender is a mom or dad and they are sent away to jail for a long time.
If you or someone you love is being charged under Sec. 49.045, contact our firm to meet with a Plano DWI lawyer. Let our experienced legal team help you!