DUIs sometimes hold harsh penalties. But what happens when you are caught driving with a child while intoxicated? You can expect the penalties to be harsher, including reckless endangerment of a child. The reason behind this is because, on its own, drunk driving exposes other drivers to a very deadly scenario – but driving with children in the vehicle also puts them at risk! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that, in 2014, 20% of all traffic fatalities involving children stemmed from alcohol use. Many states have responded to these actions by instilling very harsh penalties for child endangerment.
An Aggravating Factor
There are different levels of DUIs. Sometimes, this depends on just how much you were drinking, which depends on your blood alcohol content. If you have a BAC of over twice the legal limit, you could receive a charge of aggravated DUI. Having a child in the car with this high of a BAC is almost an immediate aggravating factor. Because you put that child’s life in danger, this could bump an everyday misdemeanor up to a felony. If the child is killed, you could be charged with murder.
The reason why states take this so seriously is because a parent or caregiver to a child is responsible for their well-being in every way. This means that, any intentional or negligent act that results in harm to a child’s welfare can be charged with child abuse as well.
If you are facing reckless endangerment charges, your state of mind can be your best defense. If you can show that you didn’t know that there was harm involved, then this is usually the best defense that you can bring. Reckless endangerment is treated very seriously under California laws and can result in criminal fines and time in jail. This is why it is important to contact us today so you can start working toward the results you want to see in your case.