As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I am asked about the charge of child endangerment in conjunction with driving under the influence cases. This charge, in particular, can be extremely overwhelming.
When a driver is pulled over for one of any of the related offenses to driving under the influence such as failure to maintain lane, speeding, or texting while driving, even the initial contact with the police officer can be intimidating. This is why at our offices we understand just how terrifying the DUI process can be in the state of Georgia.
When someone is charged with driving under the influence, there are many accompanying charges that can result. One of those charges is child endangerment. A child endangerment charge occurs when a person has been suspected of driving under the influence while there is a child or children inside their vehicle. In today's post, I will focus on the law behind the offense of child endangerment in the state of Georgia. I will also spend a good amount of time on the potential consequences of being convicted of driving under the influence along with child endangerment. As I have stated many times before, the law on driving under the influence in the state of GeorgiaIs extremely strict. When a person has been accused of driving under the influence and endangering the life of a child as a result the penalties penalties only increase. See below.
DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia
O.C.G.A. §40-6-391 - otherwise known as the DUI Statute in the state of Georgia - also outlines the offense of DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia. The part of the law that focuses on child endangerment is as follows:
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.
The legal result is that for each child that is in a vehicle where a driver has been charged with driving under the influence, there is a subsequent charge of child endangerment. However, most people are unaware that for each DUI child endangerment charge, it legally counts as another DUI charge.
Let's look at an example. “X” is driving a vehicle with three children in the backseat. All three children are under the age of fourteen. Officers claim that “X” violates a minor traffic law. “X” is then pulled over and subsequently investigated for DUI. After the investigation is over, “X” is arrested for driving under the influence and three separated charges of DUI Child Endangerment. This means that “X” is now facing four different DUI charges - all resulting from the same incident.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Georgia, do not wait to contact our offices. Call us now.