Drinking and driving increases your risk of an accident and getting punished by the government. Both risks increase further when you are driving under the influence (DUI) with a child passenger. Specifically, a DUI with a child passenger can have these legal consequences:
It Can Aggravate Your Misdemeanor DUI to A Felony
A first time DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor provided there are no aggravating factors. In some cases, even the second or third DUI may be treated as a misdemeanor provided adequate time has passed between the subsequent offenses. Having a child passenger is one of the factors that can raise your misdemeanor DUI to aggravated DUI, which is a felony. Aggravated or felony DUI carries the potential of harsher fines such as longer prison sentences or higher monetary fines. Having a felony on your record is also worse than having a misdemeanor on your record; the former can bar you from getting into some professions or getting some forms of government aid.
It Attract Harsher Penalties Even In the Absence Of The Felony Tag
As mentioned above, having a child passenger during your DUI escapade can make you face felony DUI charges. However, this doesn't happen automatically; the prosecutor or judge will have to consider the exact circumstances of your Another factors prosecutors consider when offering plea deals is whether they have a high chance of convicting you; the offer of a plea deal isn't likely to come if your actions. However, even if your charges aren't aggravated, you may still face harsher penalties as a result of having a child passenger while drunk.
It Makes Plea Bargaining Difficult
Plea bargaining is a good way of lowering your charges as well as their associated penalties. Before a prosecutor can offer or accept your plea deal, they must consider different factors including the severity of your charges and the chances of getting a conviction. You aren't likely to get a plea deal offer if your charges are serious and the prosecutor has a high chance of convicting you. Having a child passenger during your DUI escapade increases the risks of both of these factors. Therefore, it complicates your chances of getting a favorable plea deal from the court.
It May Attract Additional Charges
In some jurisdictions, DUI charges won't be the only charges you will be facing if you are arrested for drinking and driving with a minor passenger. Some jurisdictions will also charge you with child endangerment, which complicates your criminal defense even further.
Hopefully, you won't ever find yourself getting arrested for DUI with a child passenger. If you do find yourself in such a situation, consult a DUI lawyer as soon as possible to start working on your defense strategies.