The Charge of DWI with Child Passenger
When a motorist has a child passenger, he or she takes on the additional responsibility of keeping the child safe – on top of the duty of care he or she owes everyone else on the road. When a motorist gets behind the wheel while over the legal limit for alcohol (a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of 0.08 percent), the driver puts the child in danger and can face some serious legal consequences as a result. The charge is driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a child passenger, and it is a felony charge that applies whenever a drunk driver has a child under the age of 15 onboard.
If Your Charge Leads to Conviction
If you are facing a DWI with child passenger charge, a conviction can lead to an array of serious consequences (both criminal and civil), including:
Up to two years behind bars in a state prison
Fines of up to $10,000
A driver’s license suspension of up to six months
The installation of an ignition interlock device on your car
Treatment for alcohol and drug addiction or a rehabilitation program
While the penalties are serious even if no one is harmed by your alleged intoxication, the charges and attendant penalties can rise dramatically if someone is hurt and/or if you have a prior conviction. The civil implications of the charge relate to child endangerment, which can lead to investigations by Child Protective Services and could jeopardize the custody of your children.
A Plea Deal May (or May Not) Be Your Best Option
The charges you face and your situation are unique to the circumstances involved, and while there is not a one-size-fits-all defense approach, a plea bargain that reduces the charges you face or that lowers your sentence in exchange for a guilty plea may be the best option (in light of everything you could stand to lose). This, however, is a major decision that you should not make without the careful legal guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.