DWI With a Child Passenger
Experienced Texas DWI Attorney
If you are arrested for DWI with a child as a passenger, it is crucial that you contact an experienced DWI attorney as quickly as possible because the consequences can be extremely serious. The law views driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs as irresponsible (to say the least) since it thoughtlessly puts others in danger. If you are further accused of putting a child at risk by driving while intoxicated with a youngster as a passenger, the law is prepared to deal even more harshly with you.
In Texas, Under Texas Penal Code § 49.045, DWI with a child under the age of 15 in your car is a state felony. It is perceived as particularly egregious because the child has no real choice but to trust you with his or her life. Under such circumstances, when you potentially face 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, a fine of up to $10,000 and a suspension of your driving privileges, contacting Phil Baker may be the best decision you ever make. Located in La Grange, Phil Baker is as knowledgeable and capable as they come. You can trust him to always put your interests first.
Implied Consent Laws
Texas, like many other states, has “implied consent” laws. Such laws basically state that all drivers have tacitly agreed to take a blood or breath test if their sobriety is questioned by law enforcement officials. Adults over 21 with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.08 percent are considered intoxicated and can be charged with DWI. The higher your BAC is, the harsher the penalties that loom.
It should be noted here that while DUI and DWI may have other meanings in other states, in Texas DUI applies only to minors (those under the age of 21). Since our state has zero tolerance for young drivers, individuals under the age of 21 can be arrested if they have any amount of alcohol or drugs in their systems. Obviously this makes young drivers more vulnerable to charges of DWI with a Child Passenger.
Can you be charged with DWI with a Child Passenger if you are not actually driving?
Strangely enough, the answer is Yes. Under Texas law, as long as you are considered to be in control of the vehicle, you are considered to be “operating” it. This means you may be arrested for DWI with a Child Passenger even if you are securely parked, with or without the motor running. If the headlights are on, the air conditioner is on, or the radio is playing, a police officer can assume that you have been driving and will soon be driving again since you are the person at the wheel and in possession of the car keys. There are cases in which individuals are arrested while parked and napping, sometimes when they are obstructing traffic and sometimes when they are not. If a police officer finds you asleep behind the wheel of a parked car with a child beside or behind you, he or she has the right to test your breath or blood for alcoholic content or drugs. There is also the possibility that a witness has observed and reported you weaving or driving recklessly prior to your having parked.
DWI with a Child Passenger Is Considered Child Endangerment
Under Texas law, child endangerment is defined as “any act that exposes a child under the age of 15 to imminent risk of death, bodily harm or physical or mental impairment.” This definition is clearly applicable to driving with a child in your car while you are intoxicated. Therefore, like most other states, Texas considers DWI with a child in your car to meet the standard for child endangerment. Therefore, you may be facing additional punishment for child endangerment over and above the charges you face for DWI.
If you are found guilty of DWI with your own child as a passenger, you may be confronted by officials from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). This agency has the ability to remove the child from your custody if you are considered dangerous to the child’s well-being. You may also be required to attend court-ordered counseling, have modifications of child custody agreements, or even be denied child visitation (parenting time). Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor child endangerment charge typically face up to one year in jail. Felony convictions are much more serious; anyone convicted of felony child endangerment faces 1 to 10 years in prison, or more.
Successful Criminal Defense for DWI with a Child Passenger Is Possible
Once you confer with criminal defense attorney Phil Baker, who has extensive experience and a well-earned reputation for successful outcomes, you will understand that your case is not hopeless. Even if you have failed a field sobriety test, or a breath or blood test, Phil can mount a convincing defense. Such a defense may challenge:
- The way your field or blood alcohol content (BAC) test was administered
- Whether the police officer had probable cause to pull you over in the first place
- Whether you were informed of your Miranda rights (the right to “remain silent”) before being questioned
- Whether your blood test was taken is a sanitary environment
- Whether your sample was mishandled or mislabeled
With his experienced legal counsel, he may be able have the charges against you dropped or reduced through a plea bargain arrangement.
When You Need Urgent Legal Assistance, Phil Baker Can Help
Being arrested for DWI with a Child Passenger can be a terrifying experience, especially when you’re aware of all the the legal, financial, and personal implications. What you need most is a highly skilled attorney to protect your rights and your freedom — Phil Baker is your man. Before you become overwhelmed, give him a call or contact him via the contact form on his website. He will provide you with options and hope.