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The criminal offense of DWI with a child on board is a state felony in Texas punishable by a minimum sentence of 180 days and up to two years in state prison and/or fines up to $10,000. The age of the child, prior DWI/DUI convictions, level of intoxication and other factors are weighed in determining the punishment.

A first time offense for DWI/DUI in Texas under certain circumstances is a class B misdemeanor. Being convicted of DWI/DUI with a child under 15 years old in the car is a State Jail Felony. Even if you’ve never been convicted of DWI or any other offense before, the fact that you are accused of DWI with a child passenger means the charge is a felony.

The minimum sentence for a DWI with child passenger is 180 in a State Jail Facility. You can be facing up to 2 years in State Jail on your first offense and a $10,000 fine. You may, however, be eligible for probation. Deferred Adjudication is not an option. Even with probation, you will have to disclose your record of a felony. The only way to avoid this is to take your case to trial and win.


As stated in the Texas Penal Code, Title 10, Chapter 49, you can be charged with child endangerment for driving while intoxicated if you're carrying passengers younger than 15 years old. DWI with a child passenger is punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Up to two years in a state jail
  • Loss of your driver license for 180 days

The following information is taken from the Texas Department of Transportation.


If you're stopped, be ready to show your driver license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. If you refuse to take a blood or breath test, your driver license will be automatically suspended for 180 days.

Punishment for DWI varies depending on the number of convictions:

First Offense

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Three days to 180 days in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to a year
  • Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

Second Offense*

  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • One month to a year in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

Third Offense*

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

*After two or more DWI convictions in five years, you must install a special ignition switch that prevents your vehicle from being operated if you've been drinking.

How to Stay Safe

  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Determine a designated a driver.
  • Call a cab or ride service.
  • Spend the night where you are, if possible.

The attorneys at The Steve Hesse Law Firm add that if you are arrested for DWI with a child aboard, you should call a Williamson County Criminal Attorney. We have over 20 years of experience in defending your rights and acquiring the best outcome for your individual case.

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