Under Texas Penal Code Section 49.045, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated with a child passenger in the car. This is a more serious offense than driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you drive while drunk or drugged with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, you could face a felony charge and significant consequences if convicted.
Potential Consequences of a Violation of Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.045
An offense under Texas Penal Code Section 49.045 is generally a state jail felony, which is subject to more than the standard Texas DWI penalties. The consequences for a state jail felony may include:
- Six months to two years behind bars in a state facility
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Depending on the facts of your case and the discretion of the judge, your sentence could instead include probated jail time and reduced fines in exchange for following certain rules for a set time following your sentencing. This may include community service, attending a drug and alcohol education program, checking in with a probation officer regularly, and meeting other terms of your probation.
Aggravating Factors May Bring Enhanced Offenses and Penalties
You could face more serious charges and additional penalties if there are aggravating factors in your case. This is especially true if the child or another person suffered serious injuries or died. This could lead to intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter charges. These charges are a felony of the third degree and a felony of the second degree, respectively. Consequences of a conviction would include increased time in state prison and significant fines.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Could Investigate Your Case
If the passenger in your vehicle when you get arrested is your child, you could face an inquiry by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The may accuse you of neglecting or endangering your child. This could even lead to your child’s or children’s removal from your home.
You want to ensure you have the strongest defense possible in your criminal case to reduce the risk of a conviction and reduce the chances of DFPS action.
Talk to a Texas DWI Defense Attorney About Your Case Today
If you face allegations of driving while intoxicated with a child passenger, you do not want to try to navigate this process or fight the charges on your own. A DWI defense attorney from Eddington Worleymay be able to help. Let us review the circumstances of your arrest and go to work protecting your rights and building a solid defense strategy.
Call us today at 877-721-3423 to get started.