DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle?

One of the most precarious traffic violations an individual can commit is driving under the influence (DUI/DWI). However, the severity of the consequences can be drastically exacerbated if a minor is present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. What exactly is the scope of the consequences of this particular type of infraction? Are there any legal defenses that might prevent significant legal penalties, such as fines and jail time? 

2 Criminal Cases

A DUI arrest with a minor in the vehicle can trigger 2 separate cases: A DUI case and a child endangerment case. 

DUI Criminal Case

A DUI criminal case will be charged as such. Your BAC levels, field sobriety test, or breathalyzer results will be factored into the case against you. If convicted, the penalties for your DUI will result in fines, possible jail time, license suspension, and possible DUI courses. 

Child Endangerment Case

The specific penalties for this offense can vary depending on the state where the offense occurred. In some states, the offense is considered a felony, which can result in more severe penalties. If a minor is present during a DUI arrest, you may be charged with child endangerment, which can require automatic jail time, depending on whether there is a prior DUI conviction on your record. The consequences of a child endangerment conviction include between $1000 and $10,000 in fines. In addition to jail time and hefty fines, you could be subject to mandatory treatment programs and even loss of custody. 

Personal Consequences

The consequences of a DUI while a minor is present in the car are not limited to legal penalties. You may also face personal consequences that can have a significant impact on your life. For example, if you are convicted of this offense, you may find it difficult to find employment, obtain housing, or obtain credit. You may also experience strain on personal relationships, such as with family members or friends.

In addition, a DUI while a minor is present in the car can have a significant impact on your reputation. You may be viewed as a danger to others, which can have a negative impact on your social and professional life. The stigma associated with a DUI conviction can be difficult to overcome, even after you have completed your legal penalties.

Legal Defenses

If you are charged with a DUI while a minor is present in the car, it is important to work with an experienced DUI attorney to explore your legal defenses. One potential defense is to challenge the legality of the traffic stop or arrest. If the police did not have probable cause to stop you or arrest you, the evidence against you may be suppressed, which can weaken the prosecution’s case.

Another potential defense is to challenge the validity of any chemical tests that were administered. If the tests were not administered properly, the results may be inaccurate, which can weaken the prosecution’s case.

It is also possible to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution, which can reduce the charges or penalties you face. For example, the prosecution may be willing to reduce the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor if you agree to attend alcohol treatment programs or other requirements.

Preventing a DUI with a Minor in the Car

The best way to avoid the consequences of a DUI with a minor in the car is to prevent the offense from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to help prevent a DUI with a minor in the car:

Plan ahead: If you know that you’ll be drinking, prepare a sober ride home beforehand. You have several options, such as a designated driver, a ride-share service, or public transportation.

Understand the consequences: Being aware of the legal and personal ramifications of driving under the influence with a minor present in the vehicle could act as an effective deterrent in itself.

Not all DUI is due to alcohol consumption: Remember that being arrested for driving under the influence could occur despite having not consumed any alcohol. Medication, for example, can also impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle in a legally acceptable manner, which can also lead to a DUI arrest.

Protect Yourself

A DUI/DWI charge does not necessitate a DUI/DWI conviction. There are DUI/DWI attorneys who are ready and willing to examine your case, build a defense, and protect you from hefty fines, potential jail time, and a life-altering criminal record. Exhaust every available resource to ensure that your rights in a court of law are never violated.

If you need to fight a DUI charge, then use our free attorney matching service for a free DUI consultation today.

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence and you believe that you were falsely arrested, then use our free consultation form at the top of the screen for a confidential, no-obligation consultation with a DUI/DWI attorney or call us at (800) 384-5297.