Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in every state in the county. If you are caught drinking and driving, you could face a number of fines and penalties, such as a license suspension, community service, and even jail time. However, if you are arrested for DUI while carrying an underage passenger, you may also face additional charges for drunk driving child endangerment.
Each state has its own laws regarding the penalties for driving under the influence, but almost every state has legislation that imposes enhanced penalties for drivers who endanger the life of a child. In most jurisdictions, transporting a person under the age of 14 is grounds for a child endangerment charge to be applied. Depending on the laws in your area, you may be charged with two separate counts—one for DUI and one for child endangerment—or a single charge of DUI child endangerment.
While the penalties for drunk driving child endangerment will vary based on your state’s DUI laws and your prior record of DUI, you can expect to receive little sympathy if you are convicted of the offense. From bigger fines to a longer license suspension, even a first-time child endangerment conviction can carry a number of harsh penalties. In some cases, the charge may even be classified as a felony crime—which means you’ll be subjected to the harshest sentencing guidelines of all DUI offenders. As a convicted felon, you may also lose several personal freedoms—including your right to vote, purchase a firearm, and carry a passport.
Regardless of whether your DUI is considered a felony or a misdemeanor, it is important to know that a drunk driving child endangerment conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently. This means that anyone who performs a background check will see that you were convicted of driving under the influence and/or endangering the life of a child. As you can probably guess, a flawed criminal record can limit your eligibility for many employment, housing, and educational opportunities in the future.
Fortunately, despite the severe nature of the offense, many drivers are able to avoid a criminal DUI conviction—and with the right defense strategy, you can do the same as well. To successfully resolve your case, however, you must obtain professional legal counsel from an attorney who is well-versed in the art of drunk driving defense.
Unlike general law practitioners, DUI attorneys have specialized knowledge in the latest laws and defense tactics for challenging a drunk driving arrest. From proving that your breath test results are inaccurate to questioning the officer’s reasons for stopping you, an experienced DUI attorney can review the circumstances of your arrest and create a strong argument for your defense.
For a free case evaluation with a skilled DUI defense attorney in your area, complete our online form today.