Child Endangerment

If during the commission of a DUI, a minor is in your vehicle, the prosecutor will usually tact on an additional charge of child endangerment, which can be a misdemeanor or felony. Instead of the additional charge, the prosecutor can instead add an enhancement to your DUI charge if the child was under 14. Either way, you face mandatory jailtime if convicted as charged.

Child Endangerment Penalties

PENALTIES FOR COURT CONVICTION OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE ( VEHICLE CODE §23152 )

More often than not Child Endangerment is attached to a DUI charge as an enhancement allegation (if the child was under 14 years old). When this happens, a first offense will result in a minimum of 48 hours in county jail; a second offense within 10 years will up the jail minimum to 10 days; a third offense within 10 years will up the jail minimum to 30 days; a fourth offense within 10 years will up the jail minimum to 90 days.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Besides the DUI, does the prosecutor have to prove that I caused actual physical danger to the child?

No. A conviction for DUI when a child is in the car is in and of itself evidence of Child Endangerment.

If I win my DUI, will the Child Endangerment charge be automatically dismissed?

That depends on whether Child Endangerment appeared as an enhancement to the DUI on the Complaint, or the prosecutor alleged it as a separate charge. If the latter, you could theoretically still get convicted of Child Endangerment by the jury even if you were acquitted of the DUI (in practice, however, this would be extremely rare).

If there are more than one child in my car, what happens?

The prosecutor can allege one count of Child Endangerment for each child in the car. So if you had 3 children in the car during a DUI, you could face 3 separate counts.

What are the most important things I should look for when hiring a DUI lawyer?

Ask yourself 3 things: a) Will this lawyer actually be the one representing you? Or does this lawyer simply pass the case off to “one” of the associates. b) Does this lawyer specialize in DUI? Or does this lawyer take whatever walks in the door? c) Is the quoted fee the “actual” fee that you will be paying? Or are there plenty of hidden fees that will hit you when you don’t simply plead guilty?

I just got a letter in the mail from law enforcement, with a request to contact a detective regarding an accident/incident involving my vehicle. What should I do?

You should absolutely NOT respond to such a letter. You have the right to remain silent, and that means the right to NOT speak to investigators/cops. Remember, no matter what you say it will be twisted around and used against you later. In short, no benefit can be derived from responding. You should contact a lawyer ASAP if you have received such a letter or voice mail.

I just got arrested for a DUI and I refused all tests. Can they still convict me?

Absolutely, especially if you forgot about the right to remain silent and copped yourself out. Remember, no matter what you said it will be twisted around and used to make you look guilty. Also, many refusal cases still (unfortunately) involve Field Sobriety Tests, which are designed to make anyone, sober or not, look impaired. With that said, a refusal DUI is usually more defensible than a regular DUI, since there isn’t a specific number that prosecutors can point to, but the consequences of conviction are more severe.

I just picked up a DUI and I blew over the legal limit. I’m guilty, so what’s the point of hiring a lawyer?

First of all, being over the legal limit is just the starting point, and all DUI cases that are won involve people who are at or above the legal limit (or they refused). If you were under the legal limit, you wouldn’t even have been cited. Second, just because you feel you are guilty, it doesn’t mean you need to have the full brunt of the consequences crash down on you. With proper representation, things like jail time, license suspension, fines, probation, alcohol school…etc. can be reduced or eliminated, guilty or not.

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