What are the penalties for a DUI child endangerment charge in Georgia?
The Georgia state legislature has taken a harsh stance on individuals who drive drunk with a minor in the vehicle. Per Georgia law, if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated and your minor child was in the car at the time of your arrest, you could be charged with two separate offenses– DUI and DUI Child Endangerment. One arrest with a child in your car could potentially result in long term suspension of your license, jail time, and even being declared a habitual violator when multiple children are present.
DUI Child Endangerment Defined
Georgia law makes it a crime under O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 to transport a child while driving under the influence. Each child in the car will create a new and separate offense, and child endangerment offenses can be stacked on top of the original DUI offense. As such, the more children there are in vehicle at the time of the arrest, the stiffer the penalties. Additionally, multiple DUI child endangerment charges will swiftly escalate the severity of the offense.
Penalties for DUI Child Endangerment
If you are arrested for a first or second offense of child endangerment along with a DUI, then you will be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000 per child. You could potentially be arrested for up to 12 months per child. Even further, the charges will compound, meaning that if you are arrested for a DUI with two children in the car, this in essence equates to three DUIs. Three DUIs will result in the defendant being declared a habitual violator, which means license suspension for five years.
In addition to license suspension, fines, and jail time, a conviction for DUI child endangerment could impact you for years to come. If your job involves driving in any capacity, you may face loss of your position. Additionally, those who work with children, like teachers and day care owners, may not be permitted to continue working in the field.
Challenging a DUI Child Endangerment Charge
Most challenges to a DUI child endangerment charge will involve fighting the underlying DUI. Common grounds for challenging a DUI include questioning the initial stop, challenging the accuracy of the breath or blood test, and finding errors in the gathering of evidence. An experienced DUI attorney can assist you in reviewing the facts of your case to determine your best means of defense.
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