Jay Cohen Attorney at Law

Tougher Penalties for DWI with Child in Car

Some want to see harsher penalties for those who drive drunk with a child in the car.


Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/04/2015 --Each state legislature is responsible for setting their own laws regarding the penalties for drinking and driving. While most states are in agreement over the basics—like the fact that the blood alcohol content (BAC) level for operating a motor vehicle is capped at .08 percent (anything at this limit or above is illegal)—there are some big differences in regards to other things. In Asheville, North Carolina, for example, anti-drunk driving activists, fueled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are hoping to change the law to make driving while impaired with a child in the vehicle a felony offense.

DWI Charges and Children

The push to make operating a vehicle while impaired with a child in the car a felony offense in North Carolina is being led by Ellen Pitt. Ms. Pitt told reporters that over the years, Asheville and surrounding areas in N.C. have seen a "steady stream of DWI cases involving children." (The most recent one occurred in July 2015, when a woman was pulled over for speeding, only to be charged with child abuse and a DWI).

Current Penalties for Those Who Drive Drunk with Children

Most people who drive drunk with their children in North Carolina can face misdemeanor child abuse charges. However, more and more people are joining Pitt's campaign, believing that more serious felony charges are appropriate when children are involved.

Penalties in Texas for Operating a Vehicle Drunk with a Minor

In Texas, the punishments for driving while impaired with a minor in the vehicle are already pretty harsh. Under Texas law, operating a vehicle while intoxicated or otherwise impaired with a minor in the vehicle of 15 years old or younger can result in:

- Up to a $10,000 fine;
- Jail time of up to two years; and
- A license suspension of up to 180 days.

Furthermore, operating a vehicle drunk in Texas with a minor in the car is considered child endangerment; child endangerment is a felony charge in Texas. Read more about DWI charges and penalties here: https://www.cohendwilawyer.com/texas-dwi-laws/.

When Facing Felony DWI Charges

When facing felony DWI charges in Texas or elsewhere, seeking legal counsel immediately is highly advised. While a standard DWI charge is serious, a felony DWI charge can have serious life altering consequences, be very expensive, and result in jail time. What's more, for those charged with child endangerment, it may also mean losing custody or guardianship of the involved child. To learn more about felony DWI charges, reach out to a DWI defense attorney immediately.