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By Benson Varghese

Published on: June 16th, 2020 at 2:53 PM
Last Updated: June 16th, 2020 at 2:53 PM

Getting pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be stressful, especially if you have a child in the car. The stakes are high for this criminal offense. If you are convicted of driving drunk with a child passenger, it is a felony and you could face time behind bars, even for a first offense.

Litigating charges of DWI with child passenger in Grapevine can be a complicated, so it is important that you understand exactly what you are facing and the potential consequences. Our seasoned criminal defense attorneys can explain how Texas law applies to your case and will pursue a positive resolution to protect your freedom and your family.

How Serious is Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger?

Under Texas Penal Code Section 49.045, a DWI in a vehicle occupied by at least one passenger under 15 years of age is a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility. However, the punishment can be enhanced if the driver has a previous DWI conviction, if their a blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 percent or over, or if anyone is injured in an accident.

Potential Consequences Upon Conviction

Driving While Intoxicated with child passenger in Grapevine is punishable by six months and two years in state jail facility, a maximum fine of $10,000, and a six-month driver’s license suspension. You will also likely be required to complete an alcohol education course, attend DWI school, install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and fulfill any community service requirements.

People convicted of DWI with child passenger may also have to deal with investigation from Child Protective Services, which may lead to them losing custody or visitation rights. Since this crime is a felony offense, you would also lose the right to vote, own a firearm, serve on a jury, or hold public office upon conviction.

Contesting DWI Arrests Involving Child Passengers

Years ago, Texas law enforcement officers used to be able to compel drivers to submit to blood alcohol content testing in certain situations, one of which was when a child was present in the car. However, the 2013 United States Supreme Court case of Missouri v. McNeely established new rules that require officers to get a warrant before they can test someone’s BAC without their consent.

Texas courts have adjusted to this new regulation by keeping magistrates on duty for longer periods of time, allowing them to immediately grant warrants whenever a police officer pulls someone over on suspicion of DWI. If you were arrested for DWI with child passenger in Grapevine, our skilled attorneys can contest a nonconsensual blood test’s admissibility as evidence.

Work with a Grapevine Attorney to Combat DWI with Child Passenger Charges

Drunk driving charges are treated very harshly in most Texas courts under any circumstances. However, if you are charged with DWI with a child passenger in Grapevine, the consequences are even more severe.

In order to effectively protect your rights and best interests, it’s important to work with an attorney who has extensive experience handling these types of cases. Call Varghese Summersett today to learn how a knowledgeable defense lawyer from our firm can help work to obtain a positive outcome to your case.