One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is driving under the influence with a child in your car. It doesn’t matter if the child is your own, if you are babysitting the child or if the child is a friend of your own child; you will face serious consequences if pulled over by a police officer. Being charged with DUI with a child in the car can lead to child endangerment charges and is a serious offense in Alabama. That’s why it is always important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible when facing such charges.
Child endangerment, also known as reckless endangerment, is considered a misdemeanor under Alabama law. Endangerment does not mean the child has to be injured, just that the potential exists for high risk to another person.
Explaining DUI with a Child
DUI with a child is a serious crime. The age of the child in your car must be determined before these charges are added to your docket. For the most part, a child is determined to be any kid who is under the age of 14. So, if you are driving while intoxicated with your adult child in the car, you should not face any extra penalties outside of DUI. In Alabama, being under the influence means your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or above.
Alabama Penalties for DUI with a Child in the Car
DUI is illegal in Alabama. If your BAC is above 0.08, you can face various penalties when driving a personal vehicle. If your BAC is above 0.04, you can face penalties if driving a commercial vehicle. If you are under 21 and have a BAC of 0.02, you will be charged for DUI.
In Alabama, any driver over the age of 21 who is convicted for DUI with a child under 14 in their car will be sentenced to double the minimum charge (if there had not been a minor child in the car). Double the minimum penalties would look like the following:
- 1st offense: Prison for up to two years. A fine ranging from $1,200 to $4,200 and 180 days of license suspension.
- 2nd offense within five years of a conviction: Prison for up to two years. A fine ranging from $2,200 to $10,000. Driver’s license suspended for two years.
- 3rd offense: Prison for up to two years. A fine ranging from $4,200 to $20,200. License suspension lasts for six years.
- 4th offense: Prison of two years and two days up to 20 years. Fines ranging from $8,200 to $20,200. License suspension of 10 years.
Having a child in the car with you when driving under the influence is considered an aggravated circumstance under Alabama law. This means that you will be required to install an ignition interlock device after you have served the mandatory license revocation period for your conviction. The device will need to be installed for a period ranging from one year to four years, depending on how many convictions you have on your record.
What Can be Argued in a DUI with a Child in the Car Case?
It can be almost impossible to argue with an officer, or with the court, that there wasn’t a child in the car when you were arrested for DUI in Alabama. However, there are various other arguments you can make in order to have the charges reduced or dropped. These include the following:
- The child was over the age of 14
- The traffic stop was illegal
- Was the breathalyzer device properly calibrated?
- Was the arresting officer acting appropriately?
- Did the officer have probable cause to initiate the traffic stop?
- Were you subjected to a blood test?
- Were any roadside tests administered?
- Were the roadside tests administered correctly?
Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Were you arrested and charged for DUI with a minor in the car in Alabama? This is a serious offense that should never be ignored. Facing the charge is the first step in fighting the charges levied against you. It is in your best interests to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney in Alabama about your case. Call the office of Darley Law today at (251) 441-7772 to schedule a consultation and to begin defending your rights.