JUST BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T PLAN ON GETTING ARRESTED, doesn't mean you can't plan your defense
Driving While Intoxicated with a Child in McKinney
An Assertive and Strategic Former Prosecutor with 16 Years of Professional Experience
Driving while intoxicated is a serious criminal offense in Texas. Driving while intoxicated with a child passenger is even more serious, especially as the consequences may impact you and your relationship with the child if you are their parent. Attorney Chris Fredericks can analyze the circumstances of your case to determine the potential outcomes you may face. Attorney Fredericks has been defending clients against complex criminal charges for 16 years, and much of his trial success is rooted in his unique experience as a former prosecutor with the Collin County DA’s Office.
Let us build a defense strategy for you in anticipation of the prosecution’s claims. Schedule a free consultation with Attorney Fredericks online to discuss your defense today.
DWI with a Child Passenger
Recall that it is illegal in Texas to drive or operate a motor vehicle while possessing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while otherwise intoxicated by drugs or alcohol to the extent that the driver lacks the normal use of their mental or physical functions. It is also illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol or substances in their system. A standard DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor. It becomes a felony, however, when it involves a child passenger.
According to Texas Penal Code Chapter 12 § 49.045, when a person operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated and a child under the age of 15 is in the vehicle, the intoxicated driver may be charged with “DWI with s Child Passenger.” A DWI with a child passenger is a separate charge from a DWI and is charged as a state jail felony.
The basic penalties for DWI with a child passenger, a state jail felony, are:
- up to 2 years in jail (possible mandatory minimum of 180 days);
- up to $10,000 in fines;
- driver’s license suspension for 180 days.
A judge may also impose up to 1,000 hours of community service, completion of an alcohol or drug education course, attendance at a DWI or repeat DWI offender school, and installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). A defendant will be more likely to face penalties on the higher range if they:
- have prior felony convictions;
- have prior DWI convictions;
- caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child passenger, another passenger, or a pedestrian;
- caused an accident that killed a passenger or pedestrian.
In the last situation above, the driver may also be charged with intoxication manslaughter. It is quite possible for a driver to face multiple charges in addition to DWI with a child passenger if multiple individuals are injured.
The law also implements several collateral consequences for serious felony offenses. For one, convicted felons, including those convicted of DWI with a child passenger, may lose their right to vote, their right to firearms possession, and their right to serve on a jury. A convicted individual may also face problems with Child Protection Services (CPS), who may take temporary custody of the child and have grounds to modify a current custody arrangement due to the driver’s endangerment of their child.
The first thing you should do if you have been arrested for DWI with a child passenger is contact an attorney. Time is of the essence in DWI cases, especially when aggravated factors like having a child passenger are present. While you recover from the shock of the accident, or if you are facing unfair or inaccurate charges, an experienced defense lawyer can work immediately on examining the relevant evidence and building your defense. Attorney Chris Fredericks has seen many variations of criminal cases throughout his 16 years of practice, and he can work out a strong case for your DWI with a child. Don’t hesitate to hire quality, professional defense when your future depends on it.
Schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of Chris Fredericks online for legal support in your case today.