In Orange County and throughout the state of California,
driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious charge that poses equally serious penalties. In many
cases, drivers can see these penalties enhanced substantially if there
are certain aggravating circumstances involved in their case, such as
high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, accidents involving bodily
injury or death, and prior DUI convictions.
aggravating circumstance that can result in enhanced penalties is driving under the influence with a
child passenger. Under California vehicle code (VC) 23572, motorists can face sentencing
enhancements if they have a child passenger
under the age of 14 in the vehicle
and are convicted of DUI.
The key factor determining whether or not a driver will face sentencing
enhancements for having a child passenger is whether or not they are convicted
of DUI. In other words, drivers must be convicted of the underlying DUI
charge in order to face child passenger enhancements.
Increased Penalties for DUI With a Child Passenger
If convicted of DUI with a child passenger enhancement, you may face
mandatory jail time in addition to the penalties associated with the underlying DUI charge.
1st DUI Offense: 48 hours jail time
2nd DUI Offense: 10 days jail time
3rd DUI Offense: 30 days in jail
4th DUI Offense: 90 days in jail
In addition to the DUI enhancement for having a child passenger, there
are also California laws regarding child endangerment. California Penal
Code (PC) 273a makes it a criminal offense for anyone to put a child in
any type of situation where their health or well-being is put at risk.
California considers driving under the influence to be one of these situations
since the drunk or drugged driver can get into a serious, if not life-threatening accident.
Depending on the circumstances involved, prosecutors may choose to file
misdemeanor or felony child endangerment charges rather than the DUI sentencing
enhancement. Unlike the enhancement, child endangerment is a separate
charge from DUI allegations. Penalties for child endangerment can be very severe.
In addition to the criminal consequences of DUI with a child passenger,
if a parent was the one who was driving under the influence with a minor
in their vehicle, the incident can impact any ongoing child custody battle
that the offending parent is in the middle of. So, if you’re in
the middle of a divorce or a child custody dispute, a DUI with a child
passenger can have a profound effect on your family law case.
If you have questions about your case, DUI involving a child passenger,
and how the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can help you,
contact our firm today for a FREE consultation.