Consequences Of DUI With A Child Passenger
Getting arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) is bad enough; getting arrested for DUI with a child passenger is even worse. Here are some of the severe consequences of having a child passenger while driving while intoxicated:
You May Be Charged With Aggravated or Felony DUI
You probably know that most states will charge you with misdemeanor DUI if it is your first DUI charge. However, there are circumstances that can raise your DUI charge from a misdemeanor to a felony or aggravated DUI, and having a child passenger during your DUI is one of those circumstances. Aggravated or felony DUI is more serious than misdemeanor DUI, which also means the former attracts more serious penalties.
You May Lose Child Custody
If the child who was in your car at the time of the DUI is your child, then you risk losing their custody. Don't forget that with child custody issues, the main thing is to ensure that the child is living in a safe environment and their welfare isn't threatened. Driving with a child while under the influence of DUI is definitely a danger to a child's life, which is why the child may be transferred to a safer environment, for example, with another relative.
You May Face an Additional Charge of Child Endangerment
If you are arrested for DUI with a child passenger, then DUI is not the only criminal charge you will be facing. You may also be charged with child endangerment, which is defined as putting a child's life or health in danger via an act or lack of action. Since driving while intoxicated increases the risk of accident, it means you are increasing the child's risk of getting injured if you are driving with them while you are intoxicated.
You May Face Additional Penalties
Irrespective of the actual title of the charges leveled against you after being arrested for DUI with a child passenger, expect your penalties to be harsher than those you would have faced if you didn't have a child passenger. In fact, there may also be additional risks that you may face – risks that you mightn't have faced if you didn't have the child passenger. For example, you may be ordered to pay an additional monetary fine.
That is why you cannot afford to be lax with your DUI defense if you had a child passenger at the time of your arrest; you have so much to lose if you are convicted. Consult a DUI defense attorney to give you the best defense possible.