California law allows the significant punishment of people convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Even first-time DUI offenders can be shocked at the penalties issued in sentencing. The situation will only escalate if there was a child in your car at the time of your arrest.
DUI with Child Endangerment
If there is a child in your car at the time you are pulled over for a DUI in California, then you could be charged with an escalated form of DUI known as DUI with child endangerment — sometimes called DUI with a child in the car. For the purposes of the law, a child is any minor aged 14 or younger.
The main consequence of a DUI charge escalation to DUI with child endangerment is the addition of mandatory incarceration to any sentencing requirements. A first-time DUI conviction can potentially include up to six months behind bars, but this sentencing requirement is not entirely common. With an experienced DUI attorney acting on their behalf, it may be possible to negotiate a sentencing bargain that omits any incarceration.
However, this is not an option in DUI with child endangerment cases. For a first-time conviction of this serious charge, the convicted must spend at least 48 hours behind bars. A second offense rises to 10 days, third offense is 30 days, and fourth and subsequent offenses are 90 days minimum.
It is important to note that if you are in the middle of any sort of family law dispute, or if you enter into one in the future, a DUI with child endangerment conviction will affect your case negatively. You may lose your parental rights in a child custody battle if your ex-spouse can point to the conviction and convince the family law judge that you are unfit to be a parent, for example. For this reason and many more, it is crucial for you to do all you can to prevent a conviction.
Call Our Santa Rosa Criminal Defense Attorney – (707) 418-5352
When you are accused of a DUI with a child in your car, you do not have to plead guilty. Instead, come to the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. and work with our Santa Rosa DUI defense attorney right away. Our law firm has a knack for both litigation and negotiation. Using our experience and guidance, you may be able to have your charge reduced to a wet reckless, which does not include mandatory jail time or any mention of a minor being in your vehicle at the time. Start exploring your options by contacting our law firm now and arranging a free case evaluation.