Does Driving under the Influence with Minors in the Car Lead to Additional Charges in Connecticut?
Drunk driving in Connecticut is not worth the cost, or the risk. Sadly, the percentage of Connecticut drivers who admit to driving after drinking too much is still higher than the national average. Even more concerning is that an alarming number of parents get behind the wheel, drunk, with their children in the car. Whether they are aware of it or not, this could lead to additional charges, regardless of there not being an official law covering driving under the influence with minor passengers.
Even at First Offense, DUI Laws Are Costly
Connecticut has cracked down on drunk driving over the years; now, even on a first DUI offense, your license can be suspended and you may spend anywhere from six months to a year with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle. Each additional offense increases the level of consequences, and if you are charged enough, you could face serious criminal charges.
Driving under the Influence with Minors in the Car
A man recently arrested under a DUI charge who allegedly had his nine day old son in the back seat, unrestrained, serves as an example; in addition to the charges he is facing for allegedly driving under the influence — operating under the influence, evading responsibilities for reportedly trying to flee the DUI checkpoint, unsafe backing for when he allegedly hit a car behind him — he is also being charged with risk of injury to a minor.
While his charge for injury to a minor is not standard protocol or written into Connecticut DUI laws, it is a charge that parents can face for putting their children at risk by driving under the influence. And there are lawmakers and advocacy groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), who have been advocating for nationally accepted child endangerment laws for driving under the influence with a minor in the car. These charges would be much more severe than anything parents currently face for operating under the influence with their child in the vehicle.
The advocacy stems from the very real danger that parents are placing their children in while driving under the influence. Estimates from MADD show that 226 passengers under the age of 15 suffered fatal injuries because of a drunk driver in 2011. Alarmingly, more than half of those drunk drivers were the parents, guardians, or other individuals inside the car with the child. And these are just the fatalities, not the injuries that resulted in hospitalization or long-term health complications.
Charged with a DUI? Seek Help from a Qualified Attorney
Drinking and driving never mix, but if you have been charged with an operating under the influence or driving under the influence offense, you should not face the charges alone. Qualified, legal representation can help you effectively navigate the process and, depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your situation.
With more than 35 years of experience handling DUI cases, the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can provide comprehensive legal representation for your case. To receive a free consultation with an experienced Stamford drunk driving attorney, call 204-348-5846 today.