It is important to treat impaired driving charges seriously, regardless of whether someone has never before been cited for wrongdoing or they’re grappling with a repeat offense. First-time offenders who are convicted may be saddled with the burden of a criminal record for the rest of their lives and repeat offenders may be punished more severely by virtue of the fact that they’ve been in trouble before.
Yet, it cannot be denied that some impaired driving charges are more serious than others. This is because the State of Texas takes so-called “aggravating factors” into consideration when prosecuting driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) offenses. For example, driving while intoxicated while a minor is in the car is an infraction that is punished far more severely than a “standard” DWI offense.
What is at stake?
A DWI with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time of someone’s arrest is classified as a state jail felony. In the event of a conviction, an offender could be sentenced to a term of incarceration of up to two years, driver’s license suspension and a fine of up to $10,000. They could also face collateral consequences ranging from job loss to the loss of certain parenting-related privileges if they share custody of the minor in question with a co-parent.
By understanding that being cited for an impaired driving infraction while transporting a minor can be a life-altering scenario, you can be more proactive about when you will choose to drink and to abstain before driving. If you have already been charged with this particular offense, understanding the gravity of this situation will hopefully inspire you to seek legal guidance and support as soon as you can.