Featured News 2013 Child Endangerment in DUI Cases

Child Endangerment in DUI Cases

According to a CDC study from 2000 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 5,555 children passengers under the age of 15 were killed in accidents between 1985 and 1996. These children were all the innocent passengers, being driven by an intoxicated parent or caretaker. 64% of all children killed in DUI crashes were in the car with the drunk driver when the crash occurred.

Most of the time, the drinking driver was only enough to be the age of the child's parent or caregiver. While the child endangerment rates dropped slightly in the 80's, a study shows that the rate of deaths remained steady throughout the 90's. Now, in the 2010's, children are still at risk to death if they are in the car with a reckless and impaired driver.

A study by the CDC shows that as a driver's BAC increases, the possibility of a child restraint system for the child decreases. This is because heavily intoxicated individuals often forget about the children and may fail to buckle them into a car seat or a seat belt or booster seat. These child restraint systems are essential to their safety in the car. Children are put at a very high risk when they are left without a seatbelt or child restraint system in the back of a car with a reckless driver.

Because of the risk to children, many states have heightened their penalties for DUI offenders that had a child in the car when they were caught. This is regardless of whether or not the child was harmed in the car ride. The CDC suggests that states should consider lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers that are transporting children so that they can be held to a higher standard. While some states have evaluated this suggestion, it is not commonly implemented.

Oftentimes the states will add penalties or fines for those that had a child in the car when they were arrested, but the suspect can't be prosecuted at a lower BAC level. If he or she has a BAC under 0.08% the case will typically be dismissed. The CDC says that families should adopt a personal zero tolerance policy when it comes to transporting children. This means that whether or not a driver is help to this standard by the law, he or she should never drink and then drive children.

Health care providers should also include statistical and factual information when they discuss the dangerous of alcohol-impaired driving with their patients. The CDC suggests that pamphlets be printed regarding this danger. The CDC also suggests that states enforce their existing child safety seat laws and primary seat belt laws so that they can make sure children are safe when in the car. Some states make this more of a priority than others.

The age for a child endangerment offense varies depending on which state you are arrested in. In some states, such as California, the driver can be charged for child endangerment when driving intoxicated with a child aged 14 or under in the car. In other states, the driver can be prosecuted for this offense if the child is 15 and under, and in some states the children can be up to 16.

According to MADD, in the year 2010 alone 17% of all children killed in car crashes were killed in alcohol-impaired collisions. 62% of those children were in the car with the intoxicated driver. Some states consider child endangerment a felony and others simply add penalties to the already-existing DUI charge. If you want more information about child endangerment, or if you have been accused of this crime and need a defense attorney to assist you in court, use this directory to find a lawyer nearest you!

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