Drinking and driving can lead to a myriad of fines and penalties, including community service, license suspension, and sometimes even jail time. However, if you are caught drinking and driving while having an underage passenger in your car, you could also receive additional charges for drunk driving child endangerment. If you are being faced with a drunk driving child endangerment charge, you should have a criminal defense attorney on your side.
Child endangerment is either an offense or an added penalty to a charge when a minor is endangered. These laws were created to protect children from a wrongdoing by their parent or guardian. These laws make it a crime to put a child’s health or life in danger due to their parent or guardian’s indifference or recklessness.
The courts take child endangerment charges very seriously and it is not likely for them to be lenient on penalties, especially in any case where a judge believes the child could continue to be at risk or neglected. These child endangerment charges could result in losing their parental custodial rights.
DUI with a Minor Penalties
Over half of all states in the country have created laws that directly relate to child endangerment while driving impaired because of the influence of drugs or alcohol. The penalties of these charges typically depend on:
- Where the incident took place
- How old the minor passenger is
- How old the driver is
- How seere the passenger’s injuries are
- How many previous offenses the driver has committed similar to this
The penalties for a DUI with child endangerment charge can include:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Hefty fines
- Suspension of license
- Revocation of license
These penalties tend to vary by state, however, a few examples include:
- If the passenger in the car is under 14 years old, California will increase the normal DUI penalties by adding 48 hours of jail time for a first offense and for multiple offenses, up to 90 days.
- In Florida, if the passenger is under 18 years old, a first offense DUI will be increased by a fine of up to $2,000 and 9 months in jail. For multiple offenses, the fine will be up to $4,000 and they can spend up to a year in jail.
- If the passenger is under 16 years old, the existing DUI penalties will be increased to a mandatory jail time between 2 days and 6 months for a first offense and between 3 months and 3 years for multiple offenses.
It is worth mentioning that these penalties are only for DUI offenses that don’t involve an injury. If there are injuries involved in the incident, the penalties will be more severe.
If you have been charged with a DUI with a minor in your car, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney. An experienced DUI lawyer Fairfax, VA trusts will be able to inform you of your rights, defenses, and help you know what to expect throughout the process.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal defense and DUI charges.