Woman driving multiple kids

Will Multiple Minor Passengers Increase Potential DWI Penalties?

In Texas, punishments for drunk driving depend on a variety of things, from blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to your number of prior offenses, or if a child is present in the car. Even just having an opened alcoholic beverage container carries a potential fine of $500. If convicted of Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI, you could face heavy fines and jail time.

DWI with a Child Passenger

If you are suspected of driving drunk with a passenger younger than 15 years old, the law considers it child endangerment and the potential penalties for a conviction are much higher than for normal DWIs.

While a standard first-time DWI conviction carries a fine of up to $2000, a DWI with a Child Passenger charge carries up to a $10,000 fine. Additionally, the potential jail time is much greater with a maximum sentence of two years.

If convicted, you would lose your license for 180 days. Just as with any DWI conviction, you will likely have to pay much higher fees for your license renewal and mandated car insurance payments. As you can tell, these are very strict penalties that can potentially affect a defendant’s life for years to come.

Potential Penalties

For DWIs, the fines and sentencings are usually determined by the judge’s discretion. If you were charged with a DWI while driving multiple child passengers, the charges would not stack because you cannot be convicted twice for the same crime.

However, this would likely bring a higher sentence based on the judge’s discretion. Additional factors such as your determined BAC and your potential prior DWI convictions could make you look worse in the eyes of the judge. Therefore, you’re much more likely to be sentenced and fined for the maximum amount if you have multiple passengers in your car.

If you are ever arrested for a DWI, you need a fierce advocate to fight for your innocence and the lowest possible fine and sentence. Call Johnson, Johnson & Baer at (713) 422-2270 now for a free consultation for your case!