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What If I Had Kids in My Car While DUI?

By San Diego Attorney on January 30, 2023

DUI charges can disrupt your life significantly, especially if your actions caused an accident. You may face fines, jail time, or a suspended license if you are convicted of driving under the influence. Things can get significantly worse if you have kids in the car while driving under the influence. Judges and prosecutors will often consider you a threat to public safety and may also charge you with child endangerment. Child abuse charges are also common for DUI offenders with children on board. Read on to learn about DUI charges with kids in your car and the possible consequences.

Consequences of DUI with Children in California

There are several potential legal consequences for DUI offenders with children in California. Some of them include the following:

  • Protective Custody: If you are arrested for driving under the influence with a child in the car, the law decides what to do with the child. The arresting officer might call the other parent to come and pick up the kids if they are available. The child may be placed in a foster home or temporary protective custody if the other parent is unavailable. This is done to protect them from the danger of an intoxicated parent who endangers their safety on the road.
  • Enhanced Penalties: Drivers convicted of DUI charges with minors on board will face enhanced penalties under the California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC. This section governs DUIs that involve endangering the safety of minors. Enhanced penalties are applicable in addition to any other consequences that apply to single DUI convictions. If you have a child in the car during a DUI arrest, you could serve time in prison even if it is your first-time misdemeanor offense.

Will You Go to Jail for DUI Child Endangerment?

California has special provisions for a DUI offender with a child below 14 years on board. Driving under the influence while carrying a child is considered by the state as DUI with child endangerment. These charges come with mandatory jail time in California. A first-time DUI with a child endangerment offender will result in 48 hours of jail time. A second offense results in 10 days, and a third will lead to 30 days in jail. These charges vary depending on the extent of damage caused by your intoxication.

Child Protective Services and DUI in California

When your DUI case is reported to Child Protective Services (CPS), they may decide to investigate and find out whether the child is safe. While CPS is not a law enforcement agency, they have legal powers over child custody. For instance, CPS can remove a child from a home if they believe that the child is not being taken care of. If you are under investigation by CPS, they will visit your home. While you might be against such visits and investigations, cooperating is in your best interest. Generally, CPS will come looking for signs that:

  • You are an alcoholic or addicted to drugs
  • Your home is unsafe
  • You drive drunk regularly
  • You don’t provide the necessary care for your children

Seek the Services of an Experienced San Diego DUI Attorney

Driving your children while under the influence can attract severe penalties and jail time in California. This would be the case even if your children were not harmed in any way.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have experienced and dedicated San Diego DUI attorneys that will help fight for your rights. We understand the complex situation and have the legal knowledge and experience to increase your chances of vindication. Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled attorneys here at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys. Contact us at (760) 630-2000.

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