Getting a DUI with a child passenger
March 10, 2023
Getting a DUI with a child passenger is a serious offense that can result in severe legal consequences. The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol with a child in the vehicle vary depending on the state or jurisdiction, but most states have laws that specifically address this situation.
In general, a DUI with a child passenger is considered a more serious offense than a standard DUI. This is because it not only endangers the life of the driver but also puts the life of an innocent child at risk.
Penalties for a DUI with a child passenger typically include fines, license suspension or revocation, mandatory attendance at alcohol or drug education courses, and possible jail time. The severity of the penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case, including the age of the child, the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC), and the driver’s previous criminal history.
In some states, a DUI with a child passenger can result in felony charges, which carry much more severe penalties than misdemeanor charges. Additionally, a conviction for this offense can have long-lasting consequences, including a criminal record, difficulty finding employment, and difficulties with child custody or visitation rights.
It’s important to note that the legal consequences of a DUI with a child passenger are only one aspect of the situation. This offense can also have significant emotional and psychological consequences for the child involved, as well as for the driver and their family.
Additional charges of child endangerment
In addition to a DUI charge, a driver who is caught driving under the influence with a child passenger may also face charges of child endangerment. Child endangerment charges may be added if the child was placed in danger due to the driver’s impaired state or if the child was not properly secured in a car seat or seatbelt.
Child endangerment charges may result in additional legal consequences, such as fines, jail time, and mandatory attendance at parenting or alcohol education classes. The severity of the penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case, including the age of the child, the driver’s level of impairment, and the potential harm that the child was exposed to.
In some states, child endangerment charges may be classified as a separate offense from a DUI charge, which means that the driver may face separate penalties for each offense. In other states, child endangerment may be considered an aggravating factor in a DUI charge, which can increase the severity of the DUI penalties.
Overall, a driver who is caught driving under the influence with a child passenger may face serious legal consequences, including both DUI and child endangerment charges. It’s important to understand the potential risks and legal consequences of driving under the influence, especially when a child is present in the vehicle.
Defenses against DUI and endangerment
If you are facing charges of DUI and child endangerment, there are a few defenses that may be available to you. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these defenses will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.
Here are some potential defenses against DUI and child endangerment charges:
- Challenging the stop: Police officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull over a driver. If the stop was not legal, any evidence obtained during the stop may be suppressed, which could weaken the prosecution’s case.
- Challenging the sobriety tests: Sobriety tests, such as field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests, may be inaccurate or unreliable. An experienced attorney may be able to challenge the results of these tests.
- Challenging the child endangerment charge: If the child was properly secured in a car seat or seatbelt, and if the driver did not pose a serious risk of harm to the child, it may be possible to challenge the child endangerment charge child passenger.
- Lack of intent: If the driver did not intend to drive under the influence or did not realize that they were impaired, it may be possible to argue that the DUI and child endangerment charges are not warranted.
- Plea bargaining: In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor, which could result in reduced charges or a more lenient sentence child passenger.
It’s important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the specific facts of your case and develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your situation. A skilled attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case child passenger.