If you are arrested for DUI and have a passenger under the age of 14 in
your car with you offense, you may wind up facing a charge of
One example that came up in the news recently, involved a woman who was
involved in a police chase after the police attempted to pull her over
for speeding. According to
news reports, in addition to speeding she also drove unsafely in other ways during
the chase, including weaving around from lane to lane and cutting other
vehicles off. After the police finally caught up and arrested her, among
the charges she faced were misdemeanor
DUI and failure to comply with a peace officer. She was also charged with
felony child endangerment, because her six-year-old daughter was in the
car with her.
For a DUI incident, are you automatically charged with child endangerment
if there's a passenger under the age of 14 in your car?
You don't automatically face a charge of child endangerment. But it's
one of the possibilities, and prosecutors can certainly choose to pursue
those charges against you.
For a DUI charge, having a child under 14 in the car is considered grounds
for enhanced penalties which could include a longer jail sentence and
greater fines. Other grounds for enhanced penalties for DUI charges include
a high blood alcohol content (BAC) and reckless driving.
Separately from these enhanced
DUI penalties, prosecutors have the option of charging you with child endangerment.
Child endangerment could be either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutors'
So if you have a child under the age of 14 in the car and get arrested
for DUI, you could be looking at enhanced penalties for your DUI charge
or a charge of child endangerment or both. What prosecutors decide to
charge you with is based on a number of factors including your prior criminal
history, the degree of recklessness in your driving, and the age of the
child and how much danger they were likely facing.
If you live in or around Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Lake Elsinore,
Perris, Banning, Corona, Hemet or Riverside, be sure to
contact us if you're facing any criminal charges. It's possible that you're
innocent or that the charges are exaggerated and unwarranted. Whatever
the case happens to be, an experienced criminal defense attorney will
carefully go over the details with you and craft a strong defense.