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DUI with a Child Passenger: Enhanced Penalties

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have increased their focus on arresting, prosecuting, and penalizing motorists who drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. The numerous injuries and deaths caused by alcohol-related traffic crashes are the main motivating factors behind the widespread crackdown on DUIs. In California, just like states across the nation, DUI penalties are severe because impaired driving places others at risk.

Under California law, DUI penalties can vary depending on a variety of factors, including a driver's criminal history and the circumstances surrounding an arrest. In all DUI cases, there are certain aggravating circumstances that can add enhancements to penalties. Some of the most common enhancements include DUIs involving injuries and high BAC levels. Individuals convicted of DUI may also face enhancements if they have a child passenger in their vehicle.

California Vehicle Code 23572 VC

California Vehicle Code § 23572 establishes enhanced penalties for DUIs involving minor passengers. According to the law, a driver may face intensified penalties if there is a child passenger under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Penalties include:

  • First Offense – 48 hours in jail for a first DUI conviction
  • Second Offense – 10 days in jail for a second DUI conviction
  • Third Offense – 30 days in jail for a third DUI conviction
  • Fourth Offense – 90 days in jail for a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction (misdemeanor).

In some situations, prosecutors may choose to pursue separate charges, rather than penalty enhancements. In these cases, motorists who drive while intoxicated with a minor passenger may face charges of child endangerment. As either a misdemeanor or a felony, child endangerment charges pose serious penalties and long term repercussions.

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested for DUI with a child passenger, working with an experienced lawyer should be your first priority. For more information about the charges and penalties you face, as well as how an Orange County DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry can help, call (949) 537-2202.