Featured News 2020 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 child passengers under the age of 15 were killed in accidents while being driven by an intoxicated parent or caretaker between 1985 and 1996. 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 old enough to be the age of the child's parent or caregiver.

A study by the CDC shows that as a driver's BAC increases, the likelihood that children are wearing seatbelts goes down. Heavily intoxicated drivers often forget about their passengers and may fail to buckle them into a car seat or booster seat. These restraint systems are essential to a child’s safety in the car.

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, nearly 30 years later, hundreds of children are still dying every year as a result of drunk or impaired drivers.

Increased Penalties for Child Endangerment DUIs

Because of the risk to children, many states have heightened their penalties for DUI offenders who had a child in the car. Some states consider child endangerment a felony, while others simply add penalties to the already-existing DUI charge. This is regardless of whether or not the child was harmed. 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.

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.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, the presence of a child in the car will only lead to heightened penalties and a higher-stakes battle with the prosecutor. You need an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to fight your charges and protect your future. Our directory of DUI lawyers include some of the most gifted and effective litigators in the country, all of whom have successfully resolved countless DUI cases nationwide.

Visit our lawyer directory to find a DUI attorney today.

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