What Happens When You Commit DUI with a Child in the Car?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a general term that includes several types of offenses. Depending on the circumstances, DUI can be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. DUI with a child in the car under the age of 15, is considered one of the most serious aggravating circumstances in Arizona.
Minor Passenger = Aggravated DUI
A person that gets pulled over with a minor under the age of 15 in the car risks getting aggravated DUI charges if they’ve consumed alcohol or if they’ve taken an illicit drug. The blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver in Arizona has to be over 0.08 for aggravated DUI charges to apply.
A driver that has a BAC of 0.2 percent while a child is a passenger will face super extreme DUI charges. Obviously, the penalties in that case will be more serious.
Drunk driving with a kid in the car is classified as a felony in Arizona. The perpetrator faces more than just fines – there could be prison time as a consequence. The offender will typically be arrested immediately and the vehicle will get impounded. Other sanctions will depend on the BAC and whether the person is a first-time or a repeat offender.
Penalties for Aggravated DUI with a Child in the Car
Individuals who are found guilty of aggravated DUI (BAC in the range from 0.08 to 0.149) could face up to 10 days in jail, a fine, up to five years of probation, license suspension and the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for a period of one year.
Whenever the BAC reading is between 0.15 and 0.199, the person will be charged with extreme DUI. The sentence will be up to 30 days in jail, a hefty fine, several years of probation, counseling, community service, license suspension and the installation of an IID for a period of one year.
BAC exceeding 0.20 percent whenever a child passenger is in the car will lead to super extreme DUI charges. First-time offenders face a jail sentence of up to 45 days, total fines exceeding 3,700 dollars, up to five years of probation, IID installation for up to 18 months and license suspension.
A person that has a previous DUI on record will face a minimum mandatory sentence of 30 days in prison rather than county jail. Individuals that have two prior offenses will have to spend at least four months in prison. People previously found guilty of a felony will face a prison sentence of anywhere between nine months and two years.
Depending on the circumstances, DUI charges will come alongside others. A person could face child endangerment or abuse charges on top of driving under the influence. Each one of these carries separate penalties that will increase the overall sanction.
Possible Defense Strategies
If you are driving with a child in the car and you’re charged with DUI, you should invoke the right to remain silent and call a lawyer.
Several defense scenarios are possible in such circumstances.
Challenging the BAC test is a common option that lawyers choose to prove that their client wasn’t intoxicated. Breathalyzer tests have been known to produce false positives due to medical conditions or lifestyle factors. Even a blood test may be inaccurate when it isn’t administered correctly.
Procedural errors (a person not being read their rights, a stop without probable cause, etc.) could also lead to the dismissal of the charges. Police officers have to follow certain requirements when doing DUI checks and when detaining an individual. Any failure will make the detention unconstitutional and something that a DUI lawyer can challenge.