Can I Be Charged With Child Endangerment While Driving Under the Influence?

Drunk driving and child endangerment are usually both considered misdemeanors, depending on certain circumstances and if you are a repeat offender. The following is some additional information regarding a child endangerment charge while driving under the influence. 

Child Endangerment

Child endangerment is a criminal charge that stems from any threat to a child's health or life by an adult's irresponsibility or indifference. One accused of child endangerment does not need to be a parent, merely an adult who is supposed to be responsible for the child at the time. These laws are meant to protect children from situations where they may be harmed or may witness illegal activity or adult activity. Many child endangerment cases are discovered while other crimes are being investigated or charged. 

Drinking and Driving 

Drinking and driving is a serious offense in the United States. If caught drunk driving an offender will be charged with either a DUI (Driving under the influence) or a DWI (Driving while intoxicated). These offenses occur when an individual has been caught drinking alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. The legal limit for operating a vehicle is less than .08 BAC (blood alcohol content), this is independent of how this amount of alcohol actually affects you. Due to the danger to the public, legal officials take drinking and driving very seriously. 

Child Endangerment and DUI

One who has been found guilty of child endangerment because a minor was in the vehicle while they were drinking and driving can face severe penalties. Penalties for child endangerment range from a $1000 fine to a $10,000 fine plus jail time of six (6) months to twenty (20) years in some states. Pair these penalties with a concurrent charge of DUI, which also carries a fine in excess of $500 and possible jail time, although this is usually less, a few days up to one (1) month for a first time offender. Most likely since the life of a child was involved the offender will receive the maximum sentences for both. In certain circumstances the child endangerment charge will be upped to a felony, likewise if the DUI charge is to a multiple time offender. 

Getting Legal Help

If you have been charged with child endangerment and DUI it is important to contact a qualified attorney. An attorney will be able to aid in your case to determine if the law has been followed appropriately and help provide the best defense. An attorney may also be able to get a sentence reduced if you are found guilty.

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