If you get arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or another drunk driving offense and have your child in the car with you, you risk facing child endangerment charges and losing custody of your child. While this is not the likely outcome in most cases, it could come back to haunt you in a custody dispute.
In addition to having your child taken away from you, you will face serious consequences in addition to normal DWI penalties. DWI with a child passenger is a state jail felony under Texas law.
What Happens When You Get Stopped for DWI With Your Child in the Car
Most police departments allow law enforcement officers who make a stop for DWI with a child passenger to reach out to the child’s other parent, a grandparent, another family member, or a family friend to pick up the child. If the driver cannot locate anyone to pick up their child, the police officer will contact Child Protective Services (CPS) to pick up the child and find temporary placement for them.
Under the Texas Family Code, the police must report any instances of suspected child endangerment to Child Protective Services. This will happen in your case, and CPS may opt to open an investigation into your ability to protect your child’s well-being. This type of allegation could be problematic if you currently share visitation with the child’s other parent or if there are custody disputes that arise later.
Criminal Penalties for DWI With a Child Passenger Can Be Significant
Not only will you want to fight DWI with a child passenger charges because of how it may impact a later custody decision, but a conviction also comes with serious penalties.
If the court finds you guilty of driving while intoxicated with a passenger under age 15, you will face:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Up to two years in a state jail
- Suspension of your driver license for 180 days
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could also face additional charges, such as child endangerment. This charge comes with additional penalties. If you caused an accident and your child suffered injuries, you may also face intoxication assault charges.
Talk to a Texas DWI With Child Passenger Attorney About Your Case
If law enforcement in Texas arrested you for DWI after you were stopped or caused an accident and your child was in the vehicle, you will likely face charges of DWI with a child passenger. This state jail felony could cost you. Not only will you face fines and possible jail time, but your child could be taken away from you.