The law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances in order to keep the general public safe from the harm of intoxicated drivers on public roads. This is why the law is more strict for some drivers, such as those operating with a Commercial Driver's License, because the harm to the general public is thought to be greater if an intoxicated school bus driver took to the streets than an average car driver. This is also the reason that if you are charged with DUI in Atlanta and there was a child under the age of 14 in the car when you were arrested, you will face an additional charge of Child Endangerment.
Child Endangerment and DUI are prosecuted as two separate criminal acts. In addition to the penalties you could face if convicted of DUI, a charge of Endangering A Child means you will also face:
- First Offense: Misdemeanor; 12 months in jail; fine of $1,000
- Second Offense: Misdemeanor; 12 months in jail; fines from $1,000-$5,000
- Third Offense: Felony; Up to 5 years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000
For some drivers, the criminal penalties aren't the only consequence (or even the most severe consequence) of a Child Endangerment conviction. Social workers, teachers, coaches, and other professionals that work directly with youth can face serious employment consequences, or even termination. Such a conviction could also be used against you in family court, including matters involving child custody or adoption.
Charges of DUI and Child Endangerment are a very serious matter and carry very tough penalties. However, if you are facing these charges, this does not mean you will be convicted. There are many available legal defenses, and depending on the circumstances of your case, the chance that one or both of these charges could be dropped or changed to a lesser offense. Have you been charged with Child Endangerment and DUI in Atlanta? Please give me a call. We can talk about exactly what happened to you and together come up with the best legal strategy to fight these charges.