DUI Child Endangerment Laws
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What Are DUI Child Endangerment Laws?
Nearly every state has some form of child endangerment statute. About half of the states also have DUI child endangerment laws to punish DUI & DWI offenders who transport a minor at the time of the offense. These laws either enhance the existing DUI & DWI penalties, or make it a separate offense to transport a minor while driving under the influence.
What Is the Penalty for Drunk Driving with a Minor as Passenger?
The penalties imposed on a DUI offender who is transporting a minor at the time of the offense varies from state to state. A few examples include:
- If 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
- DUI offender with a passenger who is a minor 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
- If 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
- If minor passenger is under 16 years old, Illinois enhances the existing DUI penalties and imposes a mandatory jail sentence ranging from 2 days to 6 months for a first offense, and 90 days to 3 years for multiple offenses
- The defendant must also perform at least 140 hours of community service
- New York
- If minor passenger is 16 years old, the DUI offender faces automatic licenses 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.
- If 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.
It is worth noting that these penalties apply to non-injury DUI offenses only. If anyone is injured, offenses will be more serious.
What Can You Do If You Are Arrested for Drunk Driving with a Minor?
If you are arrested for drunk driving with a minor in the car, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. An attorney can inform you as to your rights, your defenses, and what to expect while going through this process. Additionally, a lawyer can help you contest your license suspension.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 07-22-2014 07:30 AM PDT
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