DWI with a Child Passenger

A DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge in Texas can result in serious consequences, including steep fines and jail time. If you’re facing DWI with a child passenger charges in Texas, the penalties may be more severe. DWI with a child passenger occurs when you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated and have a child below 15 years of age as a passenger.

If you are currently facing DWI with a child passenger charges, you should contact a skilled Brownsville criminal defense lawyer for legal representation. Texas takes this crime seriously. Undergoing these charges can be extremely stressful and quite frankly, your liberty is at stake.

DWI with Child Passenger Lawyer in Cameron County, TX

If you or someone you know are currently facing DWI child passenger charges, reach out to us at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. . The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. has a proven track record of success with drunk driving cases all over Texas. We fight to get these types of DWI charges significantly reduced or dismissed. Our lawyers are dedicated to each and every client and can do the same for you and your case.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. represents clients in Brownsville, Texas and surrounding areas including Houston, San Benito, Harlingen. We also defend individuals in Cameron County, Hidalgo County and Willacy County. Contact attorney Jonathan Gracia for a free consultation about your DWI with a child passenger. We will work hard to protect your rights.

Back to top

Information Center

Back to top

Texas Penal Code DWI Child Passenger

Essentially, DWI (driving while intoxicated) with a child passenger is the exact same as DWI, but with one added element: you have a passenger in your vehicle under the age of 15. The criminal laws in Texas involving DWI are found in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code.

You could potentially face charges for DWI with a child passenger if:

  • You are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and
  • You are operating a vehicle that is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.
  • An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

The Texas statutes defines intoxication as having a BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) of .08% or more. The definition also includes cases where the driver’s normal use of mental or physical faculties are impaired due to the consumption of alcohol or another substance.

It’s important to note that you can be charged with DWI with a minor in the car even if you did not injure anyone during the drive.

Back to top

Child Endangerment in Texas

Driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger in your car may also be considered a form of child endangerment and abandonment, regardless of whether the child was actually injured during the drive. This means you might not only lose custody of your child, but you may be charged with child abandonment and endangerment as a result.

Under Texas Penal Code Section 22.041, child endangerment and abandonment is defined as leaving a child in any place without providing reasonable or necessary care. You may commit the offense if:

  • You purposefully abandon a child under 15 years of age in any place that exposes the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.
  • You recklessly by act or omission, engage in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.

Additionally, according to Section 261.001(1) of the Texas Family Code, “child abuse” includes, but isn’t limited to, the following acts:

  • If you, as a caregiver, allow a child to be in a situation where they are subject to mental or emotional injury. Furthermore, the injury is considered observable in the child’s growth, development, and psychological functioning.
  • If you fail to prevent the acts of another individual which results in physical injury and harm to the child.
  • If you perform sexual conduct damaging to a child’s mental, emotional or physical state of being.

Back to top

Penalties for DWI with a Child Passenger in Texas

If you are convicted of a DWI with child passenger, it is important to know the penalties at hand. The consequences can be severe and that is why it’s critical to seek legal representation from an experienced DWI defense lawyer such as Jonathan Gracia and his team.

Listed below are the penalties for DWI involving a child passenger upon conviction.

  • Automatic suspension of your driver’s license for up to 180 days
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Between 180 days and two years in state jail
  • DWI education classes
  • Up to 1,000 hours of community service
  • Ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • Treatment and rehabilitation programs

If you are caught driving drunk with your child, you are likely to also face a civil Child Protective Services (CPS) case. This could result in potentially losing custody in your children.

Back to top

Additional Resources

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) – DFPS is a program designed to protect children by investigating reports of child abuse and neglect.  Their primary objective is to prevent further harm to a child. Visit the website to learn more about state laws and find answers to frequently asked questions.

Responsibility.org – Responsibility is dedicated to eliminating drunk driving and underage drinking. Visit the website to view drunk driving resources. The resources are meant to educate and raise awareness about different issues related to impaired driving.

Back to top

Texas DWI with Minor Passenger Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Gracia has a strong reputation for aggressively defending clients who are facing DWI charges. If you have been charged in Texas with DWI with a child passenger, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Both Gracia and his legal team will put their years of experience on the line to protect your rights.

The attorneys at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. specialize in criminal defense in the Brownsville, TX region. They also represent clients in nearby cities including Houston, San Benito, and Harlingen. Please call 956-504-2211 today to receive a confidential consultation free of charge. We are standing by to take your call and review your case.

Back to top