What Happens if I am Arrested for a DUI With a Minor in the Car?

February 29, 2024

A West Chester DUI Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Will Fight for Your Rights

Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in Pennsylvania, but having a child in the car is considered an “aggravating factor” that automatically carries additional penalties that are more severe than when no minor is involved. You could also be charged with child endangerment under Pennsylvania law for allowing a minor to be in a dangerous situation. This applies to parents, guardians, or anyone supervising the welfare of a child under 18. DUI with a minor in the car can bring felony charges with severe consequences, especially if this is not a first-time offense. If you are facing such charges, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately.

Pennsylvania Penalties for DUI With a Minor in the Car

For anyone facing DUI charges where a minor was a passenger, the penalties are serious. Your license may be suspended for 18 months. For first- or second-time offenders, a first-degree misdemeanor charge can be brought with punishments of up to five years of jail time and a hefty fine. For third-time offenders, the charge is a third-degree felony with jail time of up to seven years and a large fine. There are also mandatory penalties for DUI with minor passenger offenders. While Pennsylvania has a program to reduce the consequences of DUI offenses, DUI charges involving minors are excluded from eligibility.

A DUI Conviction Can Impact Your Life

In addition to the legal penalties and fines, a DUI conviction with a minor in the car can have other significant consequences. If your profession requires certification, it could be revoked if you are found guilty. Your license could be suspended, making it difficult for you to get to work. If you drive for a living, your income would be lost. If you are a teacher or work with children in any way, a conviction for child endangerment could cause you to lose your license or even your job. The authorities may also find it necessary to notify Child Protective Services (CPS) that you were driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle. A CPS investigation into your home life could result in you having to participate in parenting programs, substance abuse therapy, and home monitoring and jeopardize the custody of your child.

A West Chester DUI Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Will Fight for Your Rights

DUI charges are serious, especially if there is a minor passenger. Contact the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes right away so we can help you determine the best course of legal action. Call 610-431-7900 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced West Chester DUI defense lawyer. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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