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When is a DWI Considered Child Endangerment?
It is never a good idea to drive while under the influence, and any DWI lawyer Salt Lake City UT provides can tell you that there are serious consequences for doing so. It is an even worse idea to drive while under the influence with a child in the car. Driving while intoxicated puts the driver — and the others — in danger of potentially fatal accidents.
In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that almost 20% of children’s fatalities in car accidents were related to alcohol. To try to lower these statistics, some states have created harsher penalties for those convicted with a DWI if there was a child in the car. In other states, this offense is equal to child abuse.
Types of DWI Charges
Before speaking with a DWI lawyer in Salt Lake City UT, it may help to know the broad differences between DWI charges:
- DWI/DUI: A DWI occurs when someone is driving a motor vehicle and has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Someone could be arrested for a DWI if their BAC is less than .08% but they showed signs of intoxication.
- Aggravated DWI/DUI: An aggravated DWI is when the driver committed another traffic offense in addition to driving under the influence. These additional offenses might include driving with a suspended license or speeding.
- Felony DWI/DUI: A felony DWI occurs when the drunk driver has caused harm to another person or if there was a child (under the age of 16) in the car.
Child Endangerment and Abuse
Parents and guardians are responsible for the well-being of their minor child. Any careless, negligent, or intentionally wrongful acts that could result in serious harm or imminent risk to the child’s welfare are considered child endangerment or child abuse, depending on the state. These laws are to protect children from any criminal wrongdoing from their parents or guardians.
In addition to a felony DWI charge and child abuse or child endangerment charges, most states require Child Protective Services to start an investigation. As an experienced DWI lawyer Salt Lake City UT can provide could explain, these child endangerment or abuse cases are taken very seriously. Courts are not likely to be lenient on sentencing if they believe the child may be endangered in the future. Ultimately, child endangerment charges could lead to the loss of parental custodial rights.
The best way to avoid these types of situations is to not drive drunk. It is especially important to be sober when driving children somewhere.
Contact a DWI Lawyer Salt Lake City UT Drivers Trust for Results
While it’s important to know the dangers and consequences of child endangerment as it pertains to DUI, a seasoned DWI lawyer Salt Lake City UT offers will know that many individuals charged with DUI are facing far lesser charges. Many drivers who seek legal counsel from a Salt Lake City DWI lawyer are facing charges that might depend on weak evidence, false statements, or incorrect test results.
For more information on DWI charges, or to schedule a consultation with a DWI lawyer Salt Lake City UT drivers depend on, contact Rasmussen & Miner today.