California DUI With a Child in the Car

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California DUI With a Child in the Car

With alcohol flowing freely at family BBQs and birthday parties, sports games, and holiday gatherings, it happens: parents enjoy a couple of drinks, collect their family members (kids included), and head home.

What seems like a natural chain of events quickly takes a turn for the worse when you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror, and your kids are buckled up in the back.

Enhancements for Having a Minor in the Vehicle

Under Vehicle Code 23572 VC, if you are convicted of misdemeanor DUI and you had a child under the age of 14 in your car at the time of the arrest, you face sentence enhancements. Your level of intoxication, and the circumstances surrounding your case will determine what happens next.

What matters most to the court is that: 1) you were driving under the influence, and 2) there was a minor under the age of 14 in your vehicle when you were driving.

If your attorney can successfully fight your DUI case, the court won’t impose an increase penalty for having a child passenger at the time of your arrest.

Penalties for a violation of VC 23572:

  • For a first conviction, up to 48 hours in jail
  • For a second conviction, up to 10 days in jail
  • For a third conviction, up to 30 days in jail
  • For a fourth conviction, up to 90 days in jail

Child Endangerment Charges

If there was a minor in your vehicle at the time of your DUI, you can be charged with a separate crime under Penal Code 273a, child endangerment – a misdemeanor or a felony.

In DUI cases involving a child passenger, the prosecutor may elect to charge the driver with the DUI sentencing enhancement, or with the separate crime of child endangerment, or they can charge the defendant with both.

Under section 273a, the law punishes people who willfully cause or permit children to be placed in a situation where the child’s health or safety is endangered, and California lawmakers decided that drunk driving fits this description.

Which charge will it be?

For a simple first-time DUI with a borderline BAC around .09%, it’s likely that the prosecutor would be satisfied with charging the defendant with a DUI sentencing enhancement, instead of with PC 273a.

A conviction for child endangerment carries sentencing ranges from up to one year in jail to up to six years in a California State prison. In contrast, a violation of 23572 VC is punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail. You do the math.

Don’t risk your kids’ future, or incarceration for a one-time mistake. Contact an Orange County DUI defense lawyer from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. immediately for a strong defense!

Categories: Child Endangerment, DUI
  • Board Certified Expert

    in DUI Defense

    Chosen as a “Top DUI Attorney” in Orange County & rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo.

    Meet Virginia L. Landry
  • Answers to All of

    Your Questions

    Visit our FAQ page to get answers to some of the most common questions.

    Read Common Questions
  • Get Help

    Immediately

    Don’t wait, time is of the essence. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.

    Get Started Today

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