Being charged with a DUI is a serious offense that could potentially come with harsh and long lasting consequences. When you are charged with a DUI and there are children present in the car at the time of the offense, the consequences can be especially harsh. If you've been charged with a DUI and a child was in the car, it's important that you be informed.
When any person considered a minor is found in the car at the time of your arrest, you could be looking at an aggravated DUI. An aggravated DUI is a felony-level charge that comes along with harsher and more permanent consequences. An individual charged and convicted at this level doesn't just face fines, but they could also be subjected to a lengthy prison sentence.
If jail time is avoided, probation is still likely. You could even be required to pay for the installation of an ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle if you don't lose your license altogether. If the child in your vehicle was your own, you even stand the chance of losing custody as a result of child endangerment laws.
Make sure the presence of alcohol within your system was actually verified. Although this isn't always common practice, some people are actually arrested on suspicion of a DUI before it is even verified that their alcohol level is above the limit. For example, say you were driving close behind the vehicle in front of you. An officer pulls you over, asks you if you've been drinking, you say yes.
The officer notices the child in the car and before you know it, you've been arrested and face an aggravated DUI charge. In this case, if the arresting officer fails to perform an alcohol level test at your time of arrest or when you arrive at the station – the charge is not valid. Just because you had a drink doesn't mean you are operating above the legal limit. Demand that your results be made available to you to ensure your charge is valid.
In the event your alcohol level was above the legal limit, this still doesn't mean that jail is in your future. This is especially the case if this is your first time being charged with this type of crime. Even with an aggravated DUI conviction, you may be able to seek an alternative sentence like an alcohol rehabilitation treatment program. This type of sentence allows you to avoid jail while also equipping you with the tools you need to avoid ever being placed in this type of situation again.
If you have found yourself in this type of situation, make sure you have an attorney on your side to help you work through this difficult obstacle.
To talk to a DUI attorney, contact a law firm such as Bommarito Law Firm.