If driving while intoxicated isn’t already a bad idea, doing the same with a child in the car not only is totally wrong, it can come with much tougher penalties. In some states, your child or children may be removed from your custody. In some states, it is considered child endangerment when any child under 15 faces physical impairment, injury or even death. First responders are required to report any suspected child neglect to the proper authorities.
In addition to facing DWI charges and possible jail time and losing your license, you could also lose custody of your child or children if the court feels they are not safe. Further, if you are divorced and share custody, a DWI with your child in the car could have negative effects on your joint custody agreement.
The judge and jury perceive the defendant in a different light if their DWI or DUI charge involves children. It is harder to plea bargain with this circumstance. This is a serious charge and it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney.
Penalties for a DWI Conviction
In addition to jail time, you may be levied a fine, which can be up to $2000. You can also lose your license for six months to three years depending on the number of DWI convictions you have and the circumstances around those convictions.
In addition, you may be required to complete alcohol treatment courses, community service, or even victim restitution. If this is your first conviction, you may have to participate in a program like this in lieu of going to jail or paying a fine.
Don’t think that if you are under the legal drinking age and get charged with a DWI that you will be treated any differently or given any breaks. The opposite is true. You may be charged with a different crime in addition to DWI if you are under the legal drinking age. In addition, the blood alcohol standard levels are lower for a minor, meaning if your BAC is .02% or higher you may be subject to the same sentences as an adult whose BAC is .08%. Even a first offense will get your license suspended for a year.
If your insurance company does not cancel your policy, they will no doubt severely increase your insurance rates. A DWI conviction stays on your driving record for several years.
You could jeopardize your job if it requires the use of a company vehicle. You won’t be able to obtain a job driving a bus, delivery truck or van or any type of job where you may use a vehicle as part of your job duties.
Possible Civil Suit Against You
If anyone was hurt as a result of your DWI, you may face a civil lawsuit against you for monetary damages to cover property or medical expenses incurred from the accident where you were at fault.
A DWI conviction is a very serious offense with long-term ramifications for your life. Seeking the assistance of an experienced DWI lawyer Fairfax, VA trusts to best protect your rights is of great importance.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal law and DWI cases involving children.