A mother is facing the following charges after an arrest last weekend:
As well as other traffic violations including driving without a license, driving on the wrong side of the road, and driving without headlights.
According to reports, she had her 8 month old son in the backseat while allegedly committing these violations. Officers were unable to do any field sobriety tests as a result of the woman's emotional breakdown after being pulled over. She was arrested and taken to the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will jump into the law behind DUI Child Endangerment in the state of Georgia in today's post. The law can be somewhat tricky to understand so I will do my best to give a clear description.
DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia
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.
Essentially, for each child in the vehicle where the driver has been charged with DUI, there is a subsequent charge of DUI Child Endangerment. Each DUI Child Endangerment charge results in an additional DUI charge placed against the driver. So, even if the driver has a spotless record, if you are charged with DUI with two children in the car, then you are facing up to three DUI charges for one technical 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 is the high possibility of multiple offenses coming out of one offense. However, there are still Georgia DUI Defenses that apply to cases involving DUI and child endangerment. Just because there was a child in the car does not mean that a person was exhibiting impairment or less safe driving on Georgia roads.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney now. We can help you with your case - including your DUI as well as any related offenses.