In most cases, a first offense DWI in Texas is a misdemeanor. But there are factors that can increase the severity of any DWI charge. One of those is the presence in the car of a passenger under the age of 15. Under Texas law, driving while intoxicated with a child passenger under 15 is a state jail felony. If a parent is convicted and sent to jail, the entire family will suffer.
With this much at stake, it is critical for anyone facing DWI with a child passenger charges to put up an aggressive defense. Fortunately, fighting these charges is very much like fighting any DWI charge.
One of the first issues in any drunk driving case is whether the arresting officers had reasonable suspicion to pull the car over in the first place, or sufficient probable cause to make the arrest. If not, the charges can be dismissed.
If field sobriety tests were given at the scene, their reliability can be attacked in court. Tests like the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand and horizontal gaze nystagmus all depend on the subjective observations of the arresting officer. In addition, they fail to take into account factors like age, physical or medical condition, or fatigue, which can skew the results and result in an improper arrest.
Finally, the accuracy of blood or breath tests can be questioned. If the breathalyzer machine was not correctly calibrated prior to the test, or if the officer administering the test failed to follow the proper test protocol, the results can be inaccurate. A careful DWI defense lawyer will scrutinize the test record to find any basis for a challenge.
Contact The Law Offices of Jed Silverman to speak with a Houston DWI attorney about your charges.
Source: Tex. Penal Code § 49.045