When most people think about driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests, they only picture someone getting arrested for having more than a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC); however, real DWI arrests are more complex.
The police look for a variety of factors to determine what prosecutors should charge the arrested with, and in some circumstances, the accused will be charged for driving while intoxicated with a child passenger instead of being charged for driving while intoxicated.
Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger Charges
Driving while intoxicated with a child passenger charges are when a driver is found to be intoxicated while operating a vehicle occupied by a passenger that is younger than 15.
Driving while intoxicated with a child passenger charges are much more severe than driving while intoxicated charges. Let’s look at the potential penalties of both charges to prove this point.
A first-time driving while intoxicated conviction is a class B misdemeanors and can result in one of the following penalties:
(1) a fine not to exceed $2,000;
(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
(3) both such fine and confinement.
Clearly, simple DWI charges are serious, but driving while intoxicated with a child passenger charges are much more serious.
A first-time driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger conviction is state jail felony and can result in the following penalties:
Confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days; and
A fine not to exceed $10,000.
As you can see, the maximum jail sentence for a class B misdemeanor (driving while intoxicated charge) is the minimum sentence of a state jail felony (driving while intoxicated with a child passenger charge). Therefore, the child passenger charge is much worse than the driving while intoxicated charge.
Now, you may be thinking that you’ve never driven with a minor while you were drunk, which means you would never have been charged for driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger. Unfortunately, your definition of “intoxicated” and the state’s definition of intoxicated are different.
Typical Driving While Intoxicated Charges
Typical DWI charges can stem from two different scenarios. An adult can face DWI charges when his or her BAC is above 0.08%, but an adult can also face DWI charges when he or she does “not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol.”
In short, this means that police officers can arrest people for DWIs even if their BACs are under 0.08%.
As you can see, Texas defines intoxication broadly, and if you ever have one or two drinks and then drive a passenger under the age of fifteen, you might be charged for driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger.
If you are convicted for this crime, you will face at least half a year of prison time, if not more. However, if you are ever charged for a DWI or a DWI with a child passenger, then you can reach out to Johnson, Johnson & Baer, P.C for help.
Hiring Experienced Representation for Your Case
If you or a loved one is accused of a DWI or DWI with a child passenger, you have the right to hire experienced representation for your case. Our criminal defense firm offers award-winning representation to all of our clients. If you are interested in learning more about our firm, contact us now!
Call (713) 422-2270 now for a free consultation for your case!