How Child Passengers Affect a DUI Charge in Auburn
There is perhaps no bigger blunder you can make than driving under the influence, when you have a child as a passenger with you in the car. You will invite grave consequences for this gross violation of law, whether you are traveling with your own child or any other child under your care and supervision.
In Auburn, and elsewhere in the state of Alabama, a DUI charge with a child passenger can lead to a charge of child endangerment. Child endangerment or reckless endangerment is a serious offense that carries a misdemeanor charge as per Alabama laws.
The gravity of your offense does not diminish even if the child traveling with you has not suffered any injuries. You invite a misdemeanor charge just with the act of placing another person in a potentially high-risk situation.
If you are facing child endangerment charges, you must contact an accomplished and proven Alabama criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. Your case will require skillful attention by a competent attorney who can guide you through the available options for your defense.
Interpretation of the Law for DUI with a Child in Auburn, AL
In Alabama, non-commercial drivers above the age of 21 are deemed to be driving under the influence, if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or more. The BAC for commercial vehicles is above 0.04, and for drivers under 21, it is 0.02 0r more.
If you are driving with blood alcohol levels in excess of the stipulated limit but with your adult child as a passenger in your car, you would face standard DUI penalties. However, if the child passenger in your car is under the age of 14, it becomes a DUI with child offense, which is a grievous crime. Establishing the child’s correct age is crucial to the nature and extent of charges imposed on you.
Enhanced Penalty for DUI with a Child Passenger Under 14
DUI laws levy extra penalties for offenses involving child passengers. The law may also look into prior convictions of the offender to arrive at penalties or a prison sentence.
When a person over 21 is found driving under the influence with a child under 14 as a passenger in the vehicle, the offender will receive a sentence double the minimum punishment that they would receive for a DUI without a child passenger. These would be the minimum penalties when doubled:
1st offense: A fine varying between $1,200 to $4,200 and suspension of driving license for 180 days. Prison term up to 2 years.
2nd offense (committed within 5 years of a previous conviction): A fine varying between $2,200 to $10,000 and suspension of license for 2 years. Prison term up to 2 years.
3rd offense: A fine varying between $4,200 to $20,200 and suspension of license for 6 years. Prison term up to 2 years.
4th offense: A fine varying between $8,200 to $20,200 and suspension of license for 10 years. Prison term from 2 years and 2 days, and up to 20 years.
An Auburn DUI with a child passenger in a car is treated as an aggravating circumstance as per Alabama law. This essentially means that the law requires you to set up an ignition interlock device after your compulsory license suspension period is over. The number of convictions on your record decides the period this device needs to be installed for. It could range anywhere between one to four years.
Arguments in an Auburn DUI with Child Passenger
Child endangerment is a highly sensitive matter. If you are facing child endangerment charges, the key to designing your defense strategy is to understand what sets it apart from other criminal charges.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence with a child in your car, there is no possible argument against it. But there are other assertions you can make to get the court to reduce or altogether drop the charges. Some of these pleas and contentions that you can raise are:
- The child with you in the car was over 14.
- The traffic stop was not legal.
- Was the device used for analyzing your breath correctly calibrated?
- Did the officer who arrested you act appropriately?
- Was there a probable cause for the arresting officer to make a traffic stop?
- Did you undergo a blood test?
- Were you subjected to roadside tests?
- Were the roadside tests conducted properly?
Child Protective Services
The officer initiating the traffic stop or arresting a parent for DUI with a child passenger will usually contact the child protective services (CPS). The involvement of CPS may lead to the parent losing custody of the child or being directed to carry out certain services, depending upon the circumstances of the case.
Talk to an Accomplished Criminal Defense Lawyer in Auburn, AL
Facing charges of a DUI with a child passenger can be a daunting experience. At Alsobrook Law Group, we have extensive experience representing clients charged for DUI in situations involving minor passengers. Our legal team is adept at putting together a compelling defense strategy to secure the best possible result for you.
Call us today at (334) 345-2765 or contact us online for a private and confidential consultation with one of our Auburn DUI attorneys.