R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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What are penalties for drunk driving with kids in the vehicle?

Everyone likes to have a good time. Maybe you meet up with friends or coworkers for happy hour before you pick your kids up from school or soccer practice. While there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun, it’s important to remember that you have a responsibility to yourself, other motorists, and the child you will pick up later to ensure you will be safe to drive when the time comes.

Parents drive drunk maybe more than you think. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorists make up to 102 million drunk-driving trips with passengers under age 15. That is a staggering number as children of this age may be most vulnerable in the event of an alcohol-related crash.

Is it illegal?

Not only is there the risk of a traumatic crash involving you and your child, the penalties for drunk driving with a child in the vehicle increase in the state of Texas. If a court finds you guilty, you could face up to two years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine and a six-month suspension of your driver’s license.

These penalties are much worse than those for a first-time drunk driver to make parents and guardians think twice before driving with their young children after too many drinks. The legal penalties don’t include the stigma that a drunk driving conviction with a passenger under age 15 could carry.

Better to be safe than sorry

Drunk driving laws regarding the presence of children under 15 years old are intentionally tough because alcohol-related crashes kill thousands of children below age 15 in which they rode with an intoxicated driver. To fight these charges, motorists need a good defense strategy to preserve their freedoms and privileges as much as possible.

The good news is that drunk driving is avoidable. If your good time gets away from you and you don’t feel safe driving, call a friend or family member for a ride for you and your child. Having one too many and calling for a sober ride is a much better alternative to drinking too much and risking the life of you or your child.

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