If you get pulled over for a DUI in Los Angeles County and you have a child in the car, you will be charged with child endangerment, under California Penal Code 273a.
Depending on how high your blood alcohol level was or how in danger the police or prosecutors felt that the child was from your actions, you could be facing some significant jail time.
The prosecutors feel that they are in the business of protecting citizens, especially children, so the penalties for these charges are harsh. If you find yourself in a DUI situation that involved a child, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can present your case in the best possible light.
Child Endangerment Charges
This is probably one of the most scary charges for a defendant because obviously, if you have a minor in the car, you put the minor at risk and the police, prosecutors and judges are very concerned because minors cannot protect themselves.
Parents and other guardians are responsible for making sure that they protect their minor children. So, in addition to facing a DUI, if you have a minor in the car when you're arrested for a DUI, you could also face the charge of child endangerment. In other words, you're endangering your child.
Your putting your child in a bad position, and therefore, they're going to add that additional charge.
Not only does that charge carry with it additional jail time and other probation terms that could keep you from being with your child, you also have a situation where child services will become involved.
The police are going to contact them and they're going to make sure that that child is safe and in addition to that, in Los Angeles County when it comes to these DUI with children in the house, what will end up happening is they'll send the case into Monterey Park Children's Dependency Court.
Basically a Judge there will be looking at whether or not you're able to actually keep your child any longer because of the fact that you have made a decision to jeopardize your child's life by drinking and driving.
Great Bodily Injury Charge
So, not only is there a host of other penalties, there's that additional charge of child endangerment, if there's an accident and your child gets hurt, there could also be other charges that apply to your particular situation.
So, in addition to additional charges being something you could be facing, you could also be facing additional punishment related to a DUI situation when it comes to being arrested in Los Angeles County.
If your child is injured during a DUI case, you could also be facing a great bodily injury charge which is a strike that would send you to prison. You could also be facing a felony DUI instead of a misdemeanor if your child is injured seriously enough.
So, when it comes to these DUI's and children being involved, the bottom line is do not drive a car with your children in your car with any alcohol in your system.
If you've done that, you need to start making some quick moves to do some damage control to avoid going to prison. To avoid a long custody sentence. To avoid the loss of your children when it comes to these DUI's with children in the car.
What If My Blood Alcohol Content Was Twice The Legal Limit?
If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, you will be charged with a DUI plus an enhancement for having a blood-alcohol level over 0.15. That can add additional jail time into your sentence.
If it is your first offense, a skilled DUI attorney may be able to negotiate an agreement to have the charge reduced to a DUI without the enhancement, but there are no guarantees. You can also expect to be required to attend a substance abuse program as part of your bail conditions.