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If you are arrested for a Fort Worth DWI and there is a child passenger in the vehicle, it is a felony — even if it is your first offense. Not only that, a conviction for this offense can negatively impact your life in a number of other ways, including financially, professionally, emotionally, and socially.
DWI with a child passenger in Texas is a state jail felony, which is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and up to a $10,000 fine. The punishment can be enhanced further if the driver has prior felony or DWI conviction, if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is greater than .15, or if anyone is injured or if property is damaged in an accident.
Not only are there harsh sentences for driving intoxicated with a child, but there are other serious legal repercussions. Typically, if a parent is arrested for driving while intoxicated with their own child, prosecutors will notify Child Protective Services. When this happens, CPS initiates an investigation into the fitness of the parent. CPS may even petition a Texas court to remove the child from the parent’s custody.
Other legal ramifications of a conviction for DWI with Child Passenger include losing the right to vote, to own a gun, and to gain public benefits. The financial costs, including a higher rate of car insurance, can be detrimental as well. A conviction can also hamper a person’s career and reputation in the community. For all of these reasons, driving after consuming alcohol should always be avoided, especially if there will be children in the vehicle.
If you refuse to provide a specimen of your breath or blood upon request during the arrest, your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days. If you provide a specimen and it shows your BAC was a .08 or greater, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. You only have 15 days to request a hearing on your license suspension, so be sure to contact an attorney immediately if you are arrested for DWI with a child passenger.
If you are arrested for DWI with a child passenger, the judge will almost certainly require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle once you are released from jail. Although you have not been convicted of an offense, and are presumed to be innocent, the judge is allowed to impose any reasonable condition of bond to ensure the safety of the community. An ignition interlock device should be expected.
Up to 180 days in jail can be imposed as a condition of probation but is not required. Here’s a chart that outlines DWI Days as a Condition of Probation.
The best outcomes are obviously a dismissal, a no-bill, or being found not guilty by a judge or jury. Short of that, obtaining a probated sentence instead of time in state jail is desirable. If a jail sentence is imposed, the minimum sentence is six months in state jail facility which must be served day-for-day.
Learn more about DWI investigations and prosecution. More information can also be found by referencing Texas Penal Code Section 49.045
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of DWI with a child passenger, it’s vital that you contact an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. The law firm of Varghese Summersett can help. We have decades of experience handling these types of charges and a proven record of success. Call today for a free consultation.