In Texas, a person's criminal charges are subject to increased penalties if they are deemed to have been committed in the presence of a minor. The Lone Star State takes crimes committed around children incredibly seriously and therefore has enacted laws that make punishments more severe when minors were present or involved at the time of the offense, also known as charge enhancements.
Let's explore how legal penalties increase if crimes are committed in the presence of a minor.
Enhancements for Crimes Committed In the Presence of Minors
Committing crimes against children is taken very seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors throughout Texas. As such, anyone charged with an offense that was committed in the presence of minors should prepare for harsher punishments than what would typically be imposed on similar offenses without minors being involved.
Even seemingly minor infractions can become major ones when minors are part of the equation, so it’s essential for Texans charged with these types of offenses to fully understand their rights and legal options before going forward with their case alone—even just one mistake can mean more severe consequences down the line.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, call our experienced team of attorneys today at (512) 991-0576 to schedule a consultation and get started.
If a minor is present when a person is arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), they face enhanced penalties. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.045(a)(2), if a child is present during any DWI-related offense, such as open container violations, then it becomes an automatic class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $4,000. Additionally, if a minor is hurt in any way due to an individual’s intoxication while operating a motor vehicle, this may be grounds for felony prosecution.
In general, drug crimes carry stiffer sentences when someone commits them in the presence of minors. For example, according to Texas Penal Code § 481.134(d), possession with intent to deliver drugs within 1,000 feet of a school carries enhanced sentences where minors were present during the commission of the said crime; such penalties can include extended prison sentences and additional fines imposed on top of existing consequences.
Consult An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If your minor children were with you at the time of a crime, make sure to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. By retaining an attorney, you gain an advocate and legal guide who can protect your rights as you face charges with enhancements. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can defend your rights and pursue a reduced sentence or dismissal of your case. In addition, they can examine all the evidence and ensure that your rights were not violated during any searches or arrests.
We Can Do More
At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, our award-winning attorneys understand how profound a conviction can be. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the best legal guidance and representation available so that they can make informed decisions about their cases and pursue favorable outcomes. With over 60 years of combined experience, our attorneys know what it takes to reach a successful outcome, and we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and freedoms while helping you build the most solid defense possible.