Texas takes drunk driving very seriously. Our state has consistently held the record for highest number of drunk driving-related deaths, with a person hurt or killed every 20 minutes in the state. In 2014, 1,466 people died in Texas due to drunk driving and a staggering 70,842 people were arrested. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the penalties for DWI are pretty high. These can include jail time, fines, inability to receive certain types of government assistance, loss of voting rights, loss of your right to possess a gun and potential ramifications on your employment prospects.
But if you are caught driving drunk with a child in the car, the penalties are far worse. That’s because a DWI with a child in the car is considered child endangerment.
You Can Have Your Child Taken Away If You Drive Drunk
In Texas, if a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver is under 15 years of age, the driver faces a state jail felony. The penalties for this are no less than 180 days or more than 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000, as well as the loss of your license for 180 days. This offense is considered a state jail felony. Texas is one of only four states where the crime of DWI with a child passenger is a felony.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services will likely investigate after you are charged with DWI with a child passenger. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, you could end up losing custody of your child. Because this crime is so serious and the penalties so broad, it is very important to discuss your arrest with an attorney.