The Consequences of a DUI while a Child is Present
Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs is never a good idea. You can face serious legal consequences, and you put yourself and others at great risk of serious injury. If you are charged with driving under the influence when you have a child in your vehicle, the consequences can be even more severe.
The next time you get behind the wheel after you’ve had a bit too much to drink, and you have a child in the car, consider these consequences first:
The legal limit for blood-alcohol content while driving in Arizona is 0.08 percent. If you are pulled over and are found to have more alcohol in your blood than this, you can be charged with driving under the influence, or DUI. If you are pulled over and found to be over the legal alcohol limit and you have a child in the car, you will be charged with an aggravated DUI. With this charge, you are facing a class 6 felony, which carries many more repercussions than a typical DUI charge.
The charge is made when you have been found to be under the influence while driving with a child under the age of 15.
If you are convicted of an aggravated DUI charge, the penalties will depend upon the circumstances of your arrest, including your blood-alcohol level and whether anyone was harmed. At a minimum, you will be sentenced to between one and 90 days in jail if you are convicted of an aggravated DUI in Arizona. You’ll face a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
Additional legal consequences include having your license suspended for one year and being required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for two years. You will likely also be required to attend alcohol counseling, to complete community service, and pay a fine of up to $4,600. You will also be under probation for as much as five years.
Finally, if you are the parent of the child who was in your car when you were charged with the DUI, there’s a good chance that Child Protective Services will get involved. Your children may be removed from your home, or you may be put under monitoring. In either scenario, you will almost certainly be required to complete certain steps to satisfy authorities.
Other Potential Consequences
Being convicted of any kind of felony can follow you for a long time. As a convicted felon, you will lose your right to vote, and you will not be allowed to own a gun. You will have a very hard time finding employment, as well. A felony remains on your criminal record your whole life, so these are not consequences that you can wait out. You will have the same problems in 20 or 30 years, even if you have never had another sip of alcohol since your arrest.
There are social consequences to a DUI conviction, as well. You will face serious judgement and scrutiny from neighbors, friends, and colleagues if they discover that you were convicted of driving drunk while you had children in the car.
Of course, the best thing you can do to avoid a DUI conviction is to make sure that you never get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you’ve had too much to drink. But drinking itself can make it hard for you to make good decisions. You may feel like you are “just fine” to drive, or you may think that you have such a short way to travel that it won’t matter.
If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, with or without a child in the car, the first thing you need to do is call a reputable DUI law office in Arizona to get representation. The dedicated DUI defense lawyers at My AZ Lawyers will help you understand all your legal options to avoid DUI conviction or to reduce the penalties. Our attorneys will use all available evidence, witness testimony, and legal strategy to get the charges against you dropped or reduce so that you can either avoid sentencing or get the lowest number of penalties. We represent clients in Mesa, Glendale, Tucson, Phoenix, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today or talk with one of our DUI lawyers about your options.
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