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Can Someone Face Additional Child Endangerment Charges In A DUI Scenario?

Someone can definitely face additional child endangerment charges in a DUI scenario. In fact, I am currently handling a number of those cases. So, if there is a kid in the car and if there is some type of an injury or someone has prior DUIs, then it’s very likely that a child endangerment charge will be brought. This is especially true if the child is injured. Very reckless behavior (such as a hit-and-run) or a really high blood alcohol level will also increase the likelihood that a person will receive a charge of child endangerment. I have seen first-time DUIs where there were school-age kids in the car and the cops asked them if they were afraid. The kids said that they were afraid, and the DA took advantage of that in order to show that they had the elements that they needed in order to get a conviction for child endangerment. In those cases, it’s very hard to get them to back off.

I can’t talk about the specifics of the cases that I have going on right now, but I’ve seen the DA’s offices in different counties in the San Francisco Bay area charge child endangerment and be willing to negotiate. However, they need to see that my client understands what they did and is completing counseling, a treatment or residential program, or AA meetings. This will show the DA that they don’t have to be concerned about them getting into more trouble in the future. The clients really need to ask the attorneys what they can do to help, and the attorney should be telling them.

There are different levels of child endangerment charges. There is felony child endangerment, misdemeanor child endangerment, and an enhancement for having a child 14 years or younger in the car. That enhancement doesn’t carry a very severe sentence. We are often able to negotiate a child endangerment charge to the enhancement charge, which will not result in all of the extra penalties. A child endangerment charge on top of a DUI charge usually results in four years of probation instead of three years of probation. It also adds one year of child endangerment classes or parenting classes. Those are penalties that we often see for California DUIs with child endangerment charges. If someone is sentenced to the child endangerment charge as a felony, then it can obviously be much worse.

Is There A Certain Lookback Period For DUI Convictions In California?

In California, there used to be a seven-year look-back period, but now there is a 10-year look-back period. So, if someone is arrested for a DUI within 10 years of a prior arrest that resulted in conviction of either a DUI or a reduced charge to a wet reckless (which is vehicle code section 23103 within the meaning of vehicle code section 23013.5), then that would be considered a second DUI within 10 years. As a result, the penalties would increase and an 18-month DUI school would be required.

The maximum penalty is a year in jail on a first DUI. On a second DUI, it’s often a higher monetary penalty and requires an 18-month DUI school instead of somewhere between a three to a nine-month DUI school. You get an ignition interlock device requirement after a minimum of three years of suspension. There are a lot of greater penalties on a second DUI. A third DUI within 10 years has a mandatory minimum of 120 days in jail. A fourth DUI can lead to time in state prison. If you received an out-of-state DUI, it will be considered a prior offense if they can prove that the same elements existed.

For more information on Additional Child Endangerment Charges In DUI Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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