What Happens If You Get a DUI With a Child in the Car?Leave a Comment
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Washington state. When a person is convicted of this offense, he or she can face jail time, fines, license suspensions, and other punishments. He or she can face additional penalties if certain aggravating factors are present, such as an extremely high blood alcohol content or several previous offenses.
If you are arrested for a DUI with a child in the car, these consequences can become even more severe. Not only could you face higher fines and more jail time, but you may also lose custody of the child and face additional criminal charges.
Child Endangerment Charges in Washington State
Driving while intoxicated is extremely dangerous. Alcohol and drugs make it difficult to drive safely and increase the risk of a serious accident. When an adult commits this crime with a child in the vehicle, he or she puts the child’s life in danger.
Under RCW 46.61.507, Washington drivers can face severe child endangerment charges if they commit a DUI with a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle. Police officers must note if a child is in a vehicle during a DUI-related arrest and contact child protective services immediately if the offender is the child’s parent, guardian, or sibling.
After the officer submits a referral, a caseworker from Washington State Child Protective Services (CPS) will investigate the case. The caseworker may conduct a home visit, interview parents or guardians, and determine whether the child is in any danger. If the child appears to be at risk, CPS will continue the investigation and may remove the child from the home.
Potential Penalties for DUI Child Endangerment
If you receive a DUI conviction, you can face very serious penalties. For a first offense, you will spend at least 24 hours in jail up to 364 jails. You will also need to pay a fine up to $5,000 and face a license suspension for up to 90 days. If you have committed previous offenses in the past or certain aggravating factors are present in your case, you will face additional penalties.
Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle is an aggravating factor. If you are arrested on this charge, you will face an additional 24 hours in jail on top of your minimum requirements. You will also need to pay a $1,000 fine and install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for an additional six months.
If you are caught committing a DUI with a child in the car for a second time, you will face an additional five days in jail plus a $2,000 additional fine. For third and subsequent offenses, you will face 10 more days in jail plus a fine of at least $3,000.
Consult with a Washington DUI Defense Attorney
Navigating a DUI charge can be an overwhelming experience. This process can feel even more daunting if your child’s future is at stake. In these situations, it is important to contact a Washington DUI defense attorney as soon as possible following your arrest.
A criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options. Your attorney will then advocate aggressively for your best interests and work tirelessly to achieve the optimal outcome. After your arrest, contact a Washington DUI defense lawyer to discuss your next steps.