Endangering A Child While DUI
Statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving demonstrate that motor vehicle crashes are the leading causes of death for children with nearly fifteen percent of children who die in motor vehicle accidents losing their lives to a drunk driver. Individuals who are charged with endangering a child while DUI often face severe consequences, individuals in these situations frequently find it essential to retain the services of a talented attorney who can limit the potential consequences and make sure that an individual’s case resolves in the best potential manner. Individuals faced with these charges should also understand some of the important details about how these types of charges are made.
Applicable Law in the State of Georgia
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Georgia is one of the few states that contains stepped up penalties for driving under the influence laws for cases involving child endangerment. Law in the state of Georgia indicates that any child that is found in a vehicle after an individual is charged with driving under the influence has the potential to result in additional charge. The offense of driving under the influence and driving under the influence with a minor child in one’s vehicle will result in motor vehicle drivers being charged with both the crimes of driving under the influence and driving under the influence while endangering a child.
Endangering A Child While DUI Does Not Merge with DUI
Child endangerment is a separate crime than driving under the influence. The endangerment charge does not “merge” into a driving under the influence charge. The charge cannot be dismissed simply because an individual pled guilty to driving under the influence.
Additionally, child endangerment is viewed as a separate offense than driving under the influence by the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services. As a result, individuals who are convicted of driving under the influence while transporting two children under the age of fourteen are at risk of being charged with multiple driving under the influence convictions.
Resulting Penalties for Endangering A Child While DUI
Child endangerment while driving under the influence can result in individuals facing a variety of penalties which can include: a $1,000 fine, substantial probation, community service, required attendance at a driving under the influence risk reduction school, alcohol and drug counseling, and up to one year in jail. Individuals who are arrested for driving under the influence in the state of Georgia must appeal their driver’s license suspension within a period of ten days or risk automatic suspension. Certain offenses and repeated offenses even have the potential to result in prison time.
Properly preparing for a potential license suspension by retaining the services of a skilled accident attorney is one of the best steps that individuals can take.
Administrative Hearings and Endangering A Child While DUI
Administrative hearings are used by the state of Georgia after a child endangerment DUI charge to determine whether an individual will be able to preserve their driving privileges.
There is only a small, limited amount of time in which one can request to preserve their driving privileges. In many situations, if an individual does not request a hearing within ten business days from the date of the individual’s arrest with the Georgia Department of Driver Services then an individual’s Georgia’s driver’s license will is automatically suspended.
In many situations, a hearing date with the Office of State Administrative hearings is established thirty to sixty days from the date of an individual’s arrest.
An administrative law judge’s only role in an administrative hearing is limited to determining whether several critical statutory elements were met, which include the following:
- Whether the individual was in control of the motor vehicle,
- Whether the individual was involved in a motor vehicle accident,
- Whether the individual refused the test
- Whether the tests were properly administered by an individual possessing a valid permit or driver’s license.
Skilled legal counsel can prove essential in reviewing one’s case and determining the best type of action to take in response to an administrative license suspension.
Available Defenses to Endangering A Child While DUI
While child endangerment charges involving driving under the influence in the state of Georgia are particularly severe, there are still available defenses that exist in response to these charges.
No one in the state of Georgia is viewed as automatically guilty, which means that no one in the state of Georgia is automatically charged as guilty of causing child endangerment while driving under the influence. For example, the state of Georgia must find an individual guilty of the underlying charge of driving under the influence before an individual could potentially be charged with an offense of child endangerment.
Some of the best available defenses to a driving under the influence child endangerment include: challenging the reasons for the initial traffic stop, challenging the accuracy and results of a breath or blood test, finding flaws in how evidence was collected during a driving under the influence test, establishing misconduct by law enforcement during their investigation, proving that the children in question were older than fourteen, or establishing the individual was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Professions Particularly at Risk by Endangering A Child While DUI
There are two groups that are particularly impacted by driving under the influence child endangerment charges: individuals who work with children and individual whose jobs require them to drive frequently. The first group includes bus drivers, coaches, day care owners, employees, healthcare providers, and teachers. The second group includes jobs that require employees to use company cars or fleet vehicles, real estate agents, truck drivers, and salespeople.
Individuals engaged in these types of professions can expect to disclose their convictions at some point in time, while many individuals charged with this type of offense might also lose their job at some time due to this type of charge.
Obtain the Services of a Skilled DUI Attorney
DUI child endangerment charges are particularly serious charges that often require the services of a skilled and experienced attorney. Contact a seasoned driving under the influence attorney like the legal counsel at Yeargan, Barber & Kert today to schedule an initial consultation.