How DUI Consequences Change When a Child Is in the Vehicle

 Posted on October 16,2018 in DUI

Rolling Meadows aggravated DUI defense attorneyIt does not matter what situation you are in when you are charged with a DUI - they are all serious charges. However, if you are found to be driving while intoxicated when a child is present in the vehicle, your punishments will be much more strict. In Illinois, penalties for DUI increase if a child under the age of 16 years old is riding in the vehicle - but it does not stop there. In addition to DUI charges, you can also face other criminal violations, such as child endangerment. You could also be charged with more serious crimes if the child suffered an injury because of you. 

DUI With a Minor in the Vehicle

According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, a first conviction for DUI is a Class A misdemeanor, which comes with a loss of driving privileges for one year, a possible sentence of up to one year in jail, and a maximum fine of $2,500. If you had a child in your vehicle while you were driving under the influence, that sentence is a mandatory minimum of six months in jail, a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine, regardless of your ability to pay, and 25 days of community service in a program that benefits children.

If you were convicted of DUI, and there was a minor under the age of 16 in the vehicle who suffered bodily injury because of an accident you caused, the penalties increase. Even a first offense is considered a Class 4 felony aggravated DUI. This means that in addition to any other criminal or administrative punishments, a mandatory $2,500 fine is imposed, and 25 days of community service in a program that benefits children is required.

Additional Criminal Charges

An increased DUI charge is not the only thing that you will be facing if you are caught driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle. You may also be subject to child endangerment charges. According to the Illinois Criminal Code, child endangerment is committed when a person knowingly causes or allows a child under the age of 18 to be in a situation that endangers the child’s life or health. This law specifies minors as children who are under the age of 18, unlike the DUI law, which specifies minors as under the age of 16. You could possibly be charged with child endangerment and not an increased DUI offense if you were driving with a minor who is between the ages of 16 and 18. A first offense for child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor, meaning that you could be subject to up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines.

An Arlington Heights DUI Defense Attorney Can Help

Any DUI charge is serious, but drunk driving charges involving a minor are even worse. If you have been charged with a DUI involving a minor and/or child endangerment, you need the immediate help of a skilled Rolling Meadows DUI defense lawyer. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law has been helping those facing DUI charges for over 25 years, and he can help you understand your best options for defense. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 847-253-3400.


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