William Sloan was arrested for DUI in Georgia yesterday when he tried to take his child home following an elementary school play. According to reports of the incident, some nearby teachers noticed his “disruptive behavior.” Other reported detecting the smell of alcohol on him.
The teachers called the police and refused to allow Sloan to put his child in his car.
Deputies came to the school and arrested Sloan after they found he had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. In Georgia, the legal limit for blood alcohol level is 0.08. According to reports, he blew a .214, and the school called someone else to come pick up his child.
Sloan will definitely need an Oconee County DUI Lawyer. But in today's post I'd like to focus on what legally could have happened if Sloan had been permitted to pick up his child and was then pulled over in suspicion of DUI.
As I posted about last month, Georgia law is serious about the protection of children. Georgia DUIs are treated very seriously – the offense is heightened even more when there's a child involved. The prosecution and even the judge will look strictly upon accused DUI drivers when a child is involved in the case, which may lead to aggravated and exacerbated Georgia DUI Penalties.
DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia
In O.C.G.A. §40-6-391, the Georgia Code sets a separate provision for the endangerment of a child if someone is charged with DUI while a child is in the vehicle.
The statute explains DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia by stating that for each child in the vehicle with a DUI driver, there will be an additional DUI charge. It doesn't matter if you have never gotten a DUI before. Bottom line - if there are children in the vehicle and you are charged with DUI, you may face multiple DUI charges for technically one DUI offense.
If Sloan had been permitted to pick up his child from the elementary school and was then pulled over and charged with DUI with his child in the car, then he would have been charged with a subsequent separate DUI offense. He would be facing two DUI charges.
This is what sets DUI Child Endangerment apart from other offenses. The State of Georgia must find the accused person guilty of the underlying and original DUI charge before finding that he or she endangered a child. Most people are unaware of the law around child endangerment and DUI, but at Lawson and Berry, we know how to apply the proper Georgia DUI Defenses to a case like this.