What is a child passenger under Texas DWI law?
Who is considered a child passenger in Texas? It varies state by state, but in Texas, someone is considered a child passenger at the age of 15 or under.
What is the penalty for DWI with a child passenger in Texas?
Being arrested for DWI already comes with a number of serious consequences. Even first-time DWI offenders can have their whole life thrown off track, and even more grave is the punishment and average sentence for a 2nd DWI in Texas.
A DWI with a child passenger is automatically a state jail felony, that comes with automatic license suspension, up to 2 years behind bars, and $10,000 in fines — and that is if it’s your first offense.
A child passenger’s presence at the time of arrest is just one of many aggravating factors that can upgrade your charge to a felony, but there are many types of felony DWI in Texas. Some other aggravating factors, that can complicate a case and bring extreme punishments, include:
- Having a previous DWI on your record
- Having an open container in the car at the time of arrest
- Inordinately high blood alcohol content levels (a BAC of over .15%) at the time of arrest
- Causing an accident that results in the injury of another party
- Causing an accident that results in the death of another party
You need a Houston DWI attorney with experience examining these aggravating circumstances and combating the harm they can do to your case. You need Mark Thiessen to represent you.
Child endangerment and CPS
One of the more non-standard, and more serious, consequences of being arrested for DWI with a child in the car in Texas, is that it could result in a Child Protective Services (CPS) case. When being charged with a DWI it is possible to face multiple charges from multiple courts and to have your life affected in multiple ways, including the custody of your children. A CPS case is distinct from DWI charges and will require that you hire another attorney who specializes in family law.
Child endangerment occurs under Texas law when a child is put at risk of injury, physical impairment, or death. It can be argued that driving under the influence constitutes child endangerment even if the driver doesn’t get into a wreck.
Can a DWI be dismissed in Texas?
Under certain circumstances, a DWI charge can be dismissed in Texas. Two things need to happen in order for a DWI charge to be dismissed: you need a good lawyer, and the police need to have made a mistake. Police officers are required to follow protocols very closely in order to successfully arrest someone on suspicions that will lead to a conviction. If they deviate in meaningful ways, it can call into question the entire stop, and therefore the charges. Some common mistakes you should be aware of include:
- The officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion for stopping you
- The video evidence doesn’t match their story; for example, if you appear sober and rational on video, the jury might not find other evidence against you to be credible
- Toxicology evidence was mishandled; this is common, but only deeply qualified DWI specialists can dispute evidence at this level
- The officers didn’t follow protocol; with respect to your rights, your lawyer will know if or when they stepped over the line
Most of these keys to dismissal are long and complicated. They are difficult to understand in a sentence or less and are a big part of the reason why you pay a lawyer to defend you. Dismissals are not a pipe dream, but you need an aggressive and experienced lawyer. Mark Thiessen just might be the best DWI lawyer in Texas for your case; his combined knowledge of the science behind intoxication and how to win a trial is a formidable one-two punch in the fight for your freedom.
Keep reading: How to get a DWI dismissed in Texas
Arrested for DWI in Texas? Thiessen Law Firm can help
DWI involving children is not to be taken lightly, and if you plan to walk away with your freedom and family intact, you need a DWI with a child passenger attorney in Houston, and you need one now. You need someone to start building your case as soon as possible, as you might be facing multiple.
Aggressive and compassionate defense attorney Mark Thiessen may be your best shot at freedom. Call Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation.