What are the Consequences of Drunk Driving with a Minor?
September 30, 2020
Getting arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while a child is in the car is a very serious and dangerous crime. A driver will face harsher penalties due to having a child in the car. Imprisonment terms and fines are heightened because of the severity of the misconduct and the possible injuries or death that could have occurred. Depending on the age of the minor, the charges and penalties will vary and may increase jail time and fines.
In Pennsylvania, A DUI charge can carry severe consequences. Drunk driving means that a driver operated a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08. Whether a person is driving home from a family party, dropping their child off at their friend’s house, or taking their child to a sports practice, they may be charged with a DUI if they have been drinking.
There are situations where a DUI charge is classified as a misdemeanor, but there are also scenarios where this type of crime can be an automatic felony. Driving drunk with a child in the car is a situation that will mostly likely end up as a felony due to child endangerment. Child endangerment refers to an act or omission that causes a child to experience psychological, emotional, or physical abuse. Driving drunk is illegal, but having a child in the car while doing so is much worse. Under Pennsylvania’s child endangerment laws, a DUI offense will automatically turn into a felony as well as a charge of child endangerment.
A DUI offense holds intense penalties, and a conviction of a DUI with a child in the car could result in the following:
- Fines of $1,000 to $5,000
- Time spent at Alcohol Highway Safety School
- Jail time
- Suspended license
- Drug and alcohol assessment and treatment
- Revoked job certifications, such as licenses for teachers, daycare employees, sports coaches, and bus drivers
- Loss of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
These penalties can be significantly higher if it is a second or third offense. Also, if one refuses arrest or does not cooperate with police, the penalties will continue to rise.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
It is important to consult with a skilled lawyer as quickly as possible following an arrest for a DUI charge. This will help minimize the possible consequences and penalties of a DUI conviction. It is impossible to argue the age of a minor, so a lawyer will most likely fight the actual DUI charge and not the child endangerment charge. Many people believe that fighting a DUI charge is impossible, but this is not the case with an experienced and knowledgeable defense lawyer.
West Chester DUI Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Fight Against DUI Arrests and Charges
If you were arrested and charged with a DUI with a minor in the car, contact our West Chester DUI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes for experienced legal help. Having legal representation will help identify procedural missteps and conflicting evidence. Contact us online or call us at 610-431-7900 for a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.