The Houston Police Department closed out the month of March with a high-speed chase to stop a woman they suspected of drunk driving. According to KHOU 11, when they finally caught up with her there was an unwelcome surprise in the back seat—a four-year-old sound asleep.
The chase happened on March 30, when the woman almost struck an off-duty police officer who was riding a motorcycle on the Katy Freeway. The officer swerved out of the way to avoid getting killed—a sound choice, since the woman was traveling almost 90 miles per hour. When the officer couldn’t get her to stop, he finally called in for help.
Police gave chase and the woman finally stopped after taking the Fannin exit and surrendering a little before midnight. That’s when police opened the back door and found the child in the backseat. Fortunately, the child was not harmed during the high-speed chase, having slept through the entire ordeal.
The driver is facing DWI and felony evasion charges. According to media reports, the child is currently staying with family.
DWI with a Child
There’s no word on where the woman was headed at 90 miles per hour on a Wednesday near midnight. But her decision to drink and drive with a child in the car will likely prove costly.
Under Texas law, DWI with a child under 15 is a state jail felony. If convicted, the woman could face up to two years in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine. She could also lose her license for up to two years. If she wants to get her license back after a suspension, she’ll need to pay thousands of dollars as a surcharge, otherwise she won’t be insured to drive again.
These are stiff punishments. Even more, as a convicted felon, she could be disqualified from owning a firearm, voting, or serving on a jury. The repercussions of a felony conviction certainly last a long time. And these are punishments independent of her evading arrest charge.
DWI with a child can also pop up if you are in the middle of a divorce or child custody proceeding. Judges decide child custody by considering, in part, the ability of a parent to safely care for their children. Nothing flashes a red warning sign quite like a DWI with your kid in the backseat.
Can You Beat these Charges?
Any DWI arrest is difficult to defend, but having a child in the vehicle raises the stakes considerably. Houston judges aren’t likely to take it easy on someone who endangered a child while drunk. Although there’s no excuse for a DWI, we would be interested in hearing the woman’s side of the story. Perhaps she was fleeing an abusive boyfriend and made a serious mistake while intoxicated. It’s hard to tell.
If you’ve been picked up for DWI with a child in Houston, contact Attorney Tad A. Nelson today. Our legal team can review the criminal charges and help you come up with a plan for minimizing criminal penalties.