DWIs are bad enough. They get exponentially worse if a child is involved
If you’re a parent, your number one priority is to ensure the safety of your child. If you receive a driving while intoxicated charge and your child is in the vehicle, there is a good chance that you are failing this priority.
In Pflugerville, Texas, two adults were arrested after a three-year-old child was reportedly discovered alone in a nonrunning vehicle at a Walmart parking lot. The toddler was screaming and attempting to escape the vehicle, reports Fox 7 news station in Austin. Worse, the temperature dropped to approximately 52 degrees that day and the child was wearing a thin “windbreaker”-style jacket. The situation escalated further when police said they found an open 16 ounce can of Modelo Beer inside the cup holder that was accessible to the toddler.
Police said they found three closed beer cans in the back of the vehicle, in addition to an open bottle of Dayquill in the passenger’s side door, pocket a bottle of Advil in the driver’s side door pocket, and a tube of Orajel in the vehicle. The police also said they did not find a child safety seat in the vehicle.
Officers had Walmart workers page the owners of the vehicle in the overhead speakers inside the store, but no one responded. Then, about 20 minutes after police arrived on scene, the child’s mother and the driver arrived at the vehicle. The mother told police she left the child in the vehicle because he was sleeping when they arrived at the store. The driver told police that he drank a few beers before picking up the mother and child and driving to Walmart. Police determined the driver was intoxicated and charged him with driving while intoxicated with a child passenger.
A child passenger in a vehicle has no control over how the vehicle is operated and any driver who has a child in his or her vehicle is entrusted with the added responsibility of the child’s safety. A conviction for DWI with a child passenger is a felony in Texas that could result in penalties that are far more severe than a conviction for DWI alone. A first time DWI is punishable by 72 hours to 180 days in jail, along with a fine of up to $2,000. Drivers who receive their first DWI conviction can also lose their driving privileges for up to a year.
A DWI with a child in the vehicle conviction is a felony and involves a minimum of six months in jail. In addition to the possibility of more expensive car insurance, DWI offenses impose a $1,000 annual surcharge over three years as a condition for maintaining a driver’s license. The fees escalate with subsequent offenses or offenses with BAC levels of .16 or more.
Being accused of DWI with a child passenger is not something to take lightly. If you are facing such a charge in Central Texas, call the Law Offices of Kevin Bennett at (512)476-4626 to start the process of defending your freedom and protecting your driving privileges.