Felony charges for DWI with a child passenger in the car

When Texas authorities stopped a car on DWI suspicions last week, they discovered that the man was driving with three children in the car. This arrest raises a point of DWI law of which some local Dallas-Fort Worth drivers might not be aware.

Under Texas law, even a first-time DWI can result in felony charges if you are caught driving with a child in the car. The possible penalties for DWI with a child passenger can be just as severe as the consequences for a third offense.

Law enforcement officers stopped this driver around 6:00 p.m. after they saw him drive his Hummer off the road and into oncoming traffic several times. His child passengers ranged in age from 13 to 8 years old. It is unclear why the children were in the car at the time.

The driver faces several serious charges in the case. In addition to DWI charges, authorities accused the driver of two counts of endangering a child with criminal negligence. The combination of these allegations could result in serious criminal penalties.

Driving with a child passenger alone is a much more serious offense than DWI. While the maximum penalties for a second-offense DWI include up to a $4,000 fine and one year in jail, even a first offense with a child passenger can result in a $10,000 fine and up to two years in prison.

Source: Longview News-Journal, "Kilgore man charged with drunken driving with children in car," Nov. 1, 2012 

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