Many states, including Georgia, have enacted very tough laws that apply to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child under the age of 14 is in the vehicle. As part of Georgia’s DUI law, a provision has been added making it a separate charge of child endangerment if a driver is intoxicated while transporting a minor. Punishment for a conviction of a DUI Child Endangerment charge is also covered under the statute governing contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or deprivation of a minor.
What is a DUI child endangerment charge?
Although charges for driving under the influence alone are very serious, drivers who are charged with DUI child endangerment face particularly harsh penalties. Georgia law provides that a driver charged with DUI, while a minor under 14 years of age is also in the vehicle, will face an additional charge of child endangerment. The crime of child endangerment does not merge with the underlying charge of DUI. It will be counted as a separate offense for the purpose of license suspension, even when both charges arise out of the same event. It will even count towards being declared a habitual violator. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the law also allows drivers to be charged with multiple counts of the offense. This means a driver will face separate charges for each underage passenger in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
Consequences of a Georgia child endangerment conviction
A DUI with an additional charge of child endangerment can have potentially devastating effects, especially for those responsible for the care of children in their job, including:
- Day care owners and employees
- Bus drivers
- Healthcare providers
At best, those with one of the above occupations may be required to disclose their conviction at some point as a condition of employment. However, it is also possible to lose your job if convicted of child endangerment.
How to fight a DUI child endangerment charge
Typically, to fight child endangerment charges an experienced DUI attorney must attack the underlying DUI arrest. This can be done in a number of ways, including:
- Challenging the reason for the initial traffic stop
- Challenging the results and accuracy of the breath or blood test
- Finding flaws in the manner in which evidence was collected at the scene
- Discovering and proving misconduct or incompetence by police during their investigation
- The prosecution must prove the age of the child was younger than 14 years of age.
If you or a loved one is facing child endangerment charges stemming from a DUI arrest in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell or any city or county in northern Georgia, call our office today at 404-816-8777. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney is available 24/7 to discuss your case. Your initial consultation with one of our experienced DUI attorneys is free, and all information will be kept strictly confidential.