Drunk Driving and Child Endangerment
When you get behind the wheel while you’re drunk, you automatically put yourself and your passengers at risk. It is bad enough to be putting adult friends and family at risk who choose to get in the car with you. When the passengers are children though, in addition to drunk driving you are committing a second serious offense known as child endangerment.
Being charged dually with a DUI and child endangerment can lead to severe penalties, including jail time. If you have been charged with child endangerment, consider contacting experienced Rhode Island DUI defense lawyer Matthew Marin to help you prepare your defense.
Child Endangerment Laws
According to Rhode Island law, any driver over the age of 18 who is found to be driving drunk may be charged with child endangerment. Having any child under the age of 13 in the car with you when you are pulled over for drunk driving qualifies as child endangerment.
In addition to facing penalties for drunk driving, such as license suspension, fines, and an alcohol treatment or drunk driving program, a drunk driver who violates the child endangerment law may face up to a one year jail sentence. If this is the driver’s second or third DUI offense, he or she may be required to serve jail time for the DUI. In this case, the one year jail sentence for child endangerment can be added on to the DUI jail sentence.
Because children are usually not given the choice to decide whether or not to ride with someone who is drunk, having a child in the car with you while driving drunk is considered a particularly serious offense. A child endangerment penalty can elevate the severity of your DUI punishment significantly. A lawyer will examine the details of your case, look for any positive evidence to help your defense, and fight to protect your rights in a court of law.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and child endangerment, don’t hesitate to contact aggressive, experienced Rhode Island DUI lawyer Matthew Marin today at 401-287-4384.