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How having a child in the car affects DWI penalties in Texas

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Driving While Intoxicated offenses carry serious consequences in Texas, but when a child is present in the vehicle, the stakes are even higher. The law takes a stern stance against endangering children, particularly in cases involving impaired driving.

DWI incidents with child passengers escalate legal ramifications. These incidents also raise concerns for the safety and well-being of the children involved.

Escalated severity of offense

A DWI incident with a child present is a felony. This differs from a standard DWI charge, which is typically a misdemeanor. This classification results in more severe penalties, including hefty fines, mandatory participation in alcohol education programs, community service and even imprisonment.

Heightened risks for child safety

Intoxicated driving poses a serious risk to all passengers. However, children, in particular, are vulnerable to the potential dangers associated with impaired driving. They may lack the ability to recognize and respond to hazardous situations. This can increase the likelihood of an injury or fatality in the event of an accident.

Law enforcement intervention

Law enforcement and child welfare authorities take DWI cases involving children seriously. Upon arresting a driver for DWI with a child in the car, law enforcement officers may involve child protective services to ensure the child’s safety and remove him or her from the potentially dangerous situation. This intervention underscores the gravity of the offense and the importance of safeguarding children from harm.

Texas drivers must exercise responsibility and refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol to protect both themselves and vulnerable passengers.