A mother from Atlanta has been arrested in South Carolina for allegedly driving drunk with her two children riding along in the vehicle with her.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the offense of DUI Child Endangerment in today's post. Although this case occurred in South Carolina, the laws are similar to those here in the state of Georgia.
DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia
DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 as:
A person who violates this Code section while transporting in a motor vehicle a child under the age of 14 years is guilty of the separate offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs shall not be merged with the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for the purposes of prosecution and sentencing. An offender who is convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-12-1, relating to the offense of contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or deprivation of a child.
Therefore, Georgia Law indicates that for any child in a vehicle when you are charged with DUI, an additional DUI charge is placed against you. Even if you have a spotless record, you may face multiple DUI charges at the same time, for the one DUI offense.
For example, if there was a minivan with 3 children under the age of 14 in the vehicle, under Georgia law, this will lead to the driver being charged with what would equal four separate DUI offenses. In Georgia, a fourth DUI offense will automatically elevate the case to a felony. Aside from the unpleasant risk of being listed as a convicted felon indefinitely, the driver will face multiple years of driver's license suspension and potentially lengthy prison time.
What sets DUI Child Endangerment apart from other crimes is the possibility of multiple offenses coming out of one offense.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today.