What Happens When You Have Been Arrested for a DWI, and There is a Child in The Car?
When it comes to DWI with a child in the car, it really does not matter that you were driving safely or that you did not get into an accident. If you get arrested or pulled over for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Texas, and you have a minor child as a passenger, you may lose custody of your child and face child endangerment charges. Although this isn’t usually the case in most instances, it can also hurt a child custody dispute in the future.
Besides the risk of losing your child, you may also face harsher penalties than standard DWI penalties because committing DWI with a minor in the car is a state jail felony.
What are the Penalties for DWI With a Child in The Car?
Getting convicted for DWI with a minor passenger comes with very severe penalties under Texas law. If you are found guilty of DWI and you have a minor passenger under 15 years old, you face the following penalties:
- 180 days to two years of incarceration in a state jail
- A fine not exceeding $10,000 and other fees imposed by the court
- Driver’s license suspension of up to 180 days
- Community service and probation
- Ignition interlock device (IID) installation
- Alcohol treatment or education program
Additionally, depending on your specific situation, you may be charged with child endangerment, which carries additional penalties. You may even be charged with intoxication assault if you got into an accident and your child got injured.
What Happens to Your Child When You Get Arrested?
Usually, police officers who arrest someone for DWI with a child passenger will get in touch with the other parent, a family member, or a close family friend to get the child. But if no one can pick up the child, the police will have no choice but to call Child Protective Services (CPS).
Law enforcement officers are legally required to inform the CPS of cases that involve suspected child endangerment. When this happens, the CPS will need to investigate your ability to take care of your child and protect their wellbeing. This can be extremely problematic if you share custody of your child or if the other parent initiates a custody dispute.
Speak to a Skilled Texas DWI Attorney Now
If a police officer arrested you for DWI because of an accident or after stopping you on suspicion of DWI and you have your child in the car, the chances are that you will be charged with DWI with a child passenger. Aside from facing hefty fines, time in state jail, and other penalties, you may also lose your child. The severe penalties that come with a conviction could likewise threaten your family life, reputation, career, and livelihood. Don’t let this happen to you.
Get in touch with the law office of Kyle Whitaker as soon as possible. To learn the best legal options for your case, you can schedule a consultation with our Texas DWI attorney by calling 817-332-7703 or completing our online form.