A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in California can lead to serious repercussions, even if a driver is alone in their vehicle. But what about if there are passengers in the vehicle? Are there additional penalties for a DUI if there are children in the car, for example?
You can focus on the legal repercussions for committing a DUI with a child in the car with this article. Consider the legal penalties for a DUI with a child with the Simmrin Law Group. Focus on legal options to handle this charge by calling (310) 997-4688.
DUI with Child Endangerment as a Sentencing Enhancement
Drivers who commit a DUI while transporting a child may face additional penalties. Sometimes, prosecutors will increase a driver’s penalties with a DUI with child endangerment sentencing enhancement.
Vehicle Code Section 23572 allows the California court to increase a driver’s penalties if they:
- Operate a vehicle
- While under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- With a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle
Drivers can be convicted of a DUI with a child in the car if they drive under the influence and have a child in the car. In these cases, the court system does not generally consider:
- The driver’s level of intoxication
- The driver’s intent to harm the child
Penalties for a Child Endangerment Sentencing Enhancement
VC 23272 is not a free-standing criminal charge. Drivers only face this enhancement if they are convicted of a DUI. The sentencing enhancement can then add time to their jail sentence. Generally, drivers can face an additional:
- Two days in jail for a first-time DUI
- Ten days in jail for a second DUI
- Thirty days in jail for a third DUI
- Ninety days in jail for a subsequent DUI
You can get fast help handling a DUI with a child endangerment sentencing enhancement by working with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Call (310) 997-4688 to focus on legal defenses for DUI charges with a minor in the vehicle.
Child Endangerment and DUI Charges in California
Drivers who operate a vehicle while under the influence with a minor passenger can also be charged with child endangerment in some situations. Penal Code Section 273(a) is California’s primary child endangerment law.
Child endangerment charges can be prosecuted as misdemeanors or felonies in California. PC 273(a) is a stand-alone charge, not a sentencing enhancement. As such, the results of a conviction under PC 273(a) are far more severe than those for VC 23572.
Generally, drivers only face PC 273(a) charges if they directly place a child in danger while operating a vehicle. Additionally, drivers can be charged under PC 273(a) even if their passenger is over the age of 14. Child endangerment charges apply if as long as the child is under 18.
Penalties for a Child Endangerment Conviction in California
Drivers convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment can face:
- Jail time of up to one year
- Fines of up to $1,000
A felony conviction under PC 273(a) can lead to:
- Prison time of up to six years
- Fines of up to $10,000
Drivers can face child endangerment and DUI charges in California at the same time. In fact, prosecutors can charge a driver with both child endangerment and a child endangerment DUI enhancement. However, drivers cannot be convicted under both PC 273(a) and VC 23572.
Legal Defense to DUI with a Child in the Car Charges
A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help you handle accusations that you committed a DUI while transporting a minor. Your lawyer may be able to demonstrate that you were not actually under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating your vehicle.
In some cases, a lawyer may be able to show that you were stopped for a DUI without reasonable cause. In this situation, the DUI charges you are facing could be dismissed, allowing you to move forward with your life.
Discuss your legal options for a DUI with a child in the car by contacting the Simmrin Law Group for assistance.
Call a Lawyer for a DUI with Children in the Car
There are additional penalties for a DUI if there are children in the car in California. You can get help handling these penalties by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group for professional advice. Reaching us is easy. Just fill out our online contact form or call (310) 997-4688.
Take charge of your future by contacting our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles to get a FREE initial case evaluation.