What if I am accused of drunk driving with a child under 14?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2022 | Drunk Driving Charges

For Massachusetts residents who are law-abiding citizens, serve as pillars of the community and are well-respected personally and professionally, being arrested can cause a litany of problems. One of the most common ways in which people who have no experience with falling on the wrong side of the law face arrest is when they are accused of drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.

Technically, this is known as operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OUI).Other states use the terms DUI and DWI. Regardless of how the arrest is described, it is a challenge with the possibility of jail time, fines and lost driving privileges. Every situation is different and one of the most difficult is if a person is arrested for OUI when they have a child in the vehicle.

What does the law say about OUI with child endangerment?

According to state law, drivers who register 0.08% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) will be considered under the influence. A simple OUI will have specific penalties based on that violation, but these can be harsher if there is a child under 14 in the vehicle at the time. A person who is accused of committing this violation will also be charged with child endangerment. That means they can be fined at least $1,000 and up to $5,000. In addition, they can be incarcerated for at least 90 days and as much as 2.5 years. This is for a first offense.

If it is a second offense, the consequences are worse. The fine will be for at least $5,000 and as much as $10,000. The duration of an incarceration will be at least six months or up to 2.5 years. There can also be a state prison sentence of at least three years or for as long as five years. Regarding the driver’s license, a first offense could lead to a one-year suspension. A subsequent offense can warrant a three-year suspension.

Child endangerment in an OUI can be serious

These charges can happen to anyone regardless of their age and station. A college student could have a younger sibling in the vehicle and be arrested just as easily as a parent or grandparent can if they have a child in the vehicle. The penalties remain the same no matter what. When it is the first time a person has been in any trouble with the law, it can be a harrowing experience.

Being convicted will invite negative perceptions across the board. There are strategies that can be effective to combat these charges. Perhaps the law enforcement officer did not follow the proper protocol or the testing procedures were flawed. To try and come to a reasonable solution, it is imperative to have assistance from the beginning. Since the penalties for child endangerment as part of an OUI case can be so significant, the defense should be specifically tailored to the case itself. Having representation from the beginning can assess the case and decide how to defend against the accusations.