A woman slammed head-on into a school bus Wednesday, April 24, 2019. She now faces multiple charges, including for driving under the influence (DUI).
Mandy Michelle Coast, age 33, was driving a 2004 Buick Le Sabre north on Calhoun Road near Model High School around 3 p.m. The school bus was traveling south according to the Georgia State Patrol. Coast allegedly crossed the double yellow line and slammed into the front of the school bus.
Coast had two children in her car at the time of the accident. She and the two children were taken to Floyd Medical Center. Coast suffered injuries, such as some broken bones, but the injuries were not life-threatening. Nine students were taken to Floyd Medical Center in ambulances, while seven more were taken by their family members. No students reported any major injuries.
If you or someone you care about had kids in the car and is facing Georgia DUI charges, you need an experienced Georgia DUI attorney to defend your case and protect your constitutional rights.
DUI Child Endangerment in Georgia
Child endangerment and DUI are actually two separate charges. Both are serious. If charged with child endangerment on top of a DUI charge, you will face increased penalties.
Examples of child endangerment include, but are not limited to:
- failure to fasten a child's seat belt,
- not using a car seat when legally required,
- failing to use adequate and reasonable care,
- driving while intoxicated,
- reckless driving, or
- putting the child's life at risk.
Penalties for Child Endangerment
In Georgia, the first and second child endangerment convictions will be counted as misdemeanors, and a third is considered a felony.
You could face the following penalties for child endangerment:
- 1st offense: 12 months in jail, $1,000 fine;
- 2nd offense: 12 months in jail, fines costing between $1,000 to $5,000;
- 3rd offense: Up to 5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine
The very tough part about a DUI charge and child endangering charge at the same time is how the two are treated together. Even if you have never had a DUI before, a DUI charged with a child endangering charge at the same time will be treated as a "subsequent" offense. This means that even with a perfectly clean record, you will start out as if you had a prior DUI conviction.
In addition, each child is considered a separate charge. So if you had a clean record before, but three kids in the car, you will not face the equivalent of four separate DUI offenses (one for driving while intoxicated and one for each child in the car). This can lead to incredibly lengthy prison sentences for what is really just one mistake.
Consult a Georgia DUI Attorney
Just because you are charged with these crimes does not mean that you are guilty. Police make mistakes, and often. There are ways to defend your case and protect your rights.
An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can present your case to the judge and jury and defend your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.