Recently, a Lower Valley man, Tony Yslas, was put under arrest for DWI and endangering a child. Yslas was involved in an argument with his eight-month-old child's mother when he got into a car with his child and left the premises. The police stopped Yslas for speeding and police saw signs of intoxication. They found his child crying, but physically unharmed in the car. Yslas was put under arrest for DWI and endangering a child. His child was turned over to the mother, and Yslas was booked into El Paso County Jail with bond set at $6,000.
Texans charged with DWI with a child passenger face potentially harsh punishment. Although 37 states have laws enhancing penalties for DWI/DUI with a child passenger, Texas is one of only four states that have laws punishing DWI with a child passenger as akin to a felony. In the Lone Star State, DWI with a child is a distinct offense from a regular DWI.
In September 2003 Texas passed legislation, Texas Penal Code § 49.045, stiffening penalties for people convicted of DWI while having a child passenger in the car. The law applies if the intoxicated individual is operating a motor vehicle which is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.
In Texas Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger is Punishable By:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Between 180 days and two years in state jail
- Loss of your driver's license for 180 days
In addition to the penalties listed above you may an investigation by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services which could affect your parental rights. If you are face charges of DWI with a child passenger consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. When facing such potentially harsh punishment it is important to have a lawyer advise you of your rights and advocate on your behalf.