When there is a child in the car, almost every state in the U.S. treats DUI (Driving Under the Influence) drivers more harshly than those offenders of a simple DUI.
What charges can be filed against a DUI with a minor in vehicle
With varying penalties throughout the states for DUI, charges filed against a DUI with an un-emancipated minor in the car can be pretty sobering. Among the possible charges are:
- Child neglect for creating the risk of injury, which is a felony
- Child abuse
- Child endangerment
- Charges upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony
- An order to be investigated by child protective services.
Aggravated DUI Charges
DUI charges vary from one situation to another. A regular DUI always carries penalties, but if there are other circumstances involved in the situation, these become aggravating factors. For some such situations, the penalties are enhanced by either increasing the range of sentencing or changing the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The presence of a minor in the vehicle is considered an aggravating circumstance. Other instances of aggravated DUI and enhanced penalties can include:
- Someone who has a history of prior DUI convictions.
- If the drunk driver caused bodily injury to someone
- Extremely high alcohol levels or BAC (blood alcohol concentration)
- Excessive speed
Penalties for DUI with a Minor
The penalties for being convicted of DUI with a minor in the vehicle can include:
- Jail time
- Community service and probation
- Fines ranging from $500-$10,000
- Suspension or revocation of license
Examples of different states’ penalties for DUI with a minor
As mentioned earlier, penalties for DUI with a minor conviction vary from state to state. Here are a few examples of the differences:
- Florida: If a minor passenger is under 18 years old, Florida enhances existing DUI penalties by imposing sanctions of up to $2,000 and 9 months in jail for a first offense, and up to $4,000 and a year in jail for multiple offenses.
- Texas: If a minor passenger is under 15 years old, the DWI offender may be charged with a separate offense of Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger; if convicted, the offense is a state jail felony punishable by at least 180 days confinement in a state jail, and up to $10,000 in fines.
- California: If a minor passenger is under 14 years old, California enhances existing DUI penalties by 48 hours in jail for a first offense up to 90 days in jail for multiple offenses; the offender may also be convicted of child endangerment, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or in the state prison up to six years.
- New York: If a minor passenger is 16 years old, the DUI offender faces automatic license suspension pending prosecution, and is subject to New York's Child Endangering Law. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year imprisonment. If a child is under 16, the driver faces a Class B felony, punishable by 25 years in prison.
Those facing a DUI with a minor charge will need a criminal defense lawyer, while those injured in an accident caused by the offender can file personal injury claims against the proper parties.
We suggest advertising for our personal injury law attorney clients that includes materials that relate directly to helping those injured by an intoxicated driver. Unfortunately, there are a lot of DUI drivers with and without minors that are responsible for serious accidents and serious injuries. You can show these victims that you can help them.
Source: Legal Match
-By Sharon Bowles