One enhancement situation involves having children in the vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest. A driver who had children under 14 years old in the vehicle at the time of arrest risks a sentencing enhancement and/or a child endangerment charge. Just like the underlying charge of drunk driving, the allegation must be proven by the prosecutor. If proven, the allegation brings additional jail time and other penalties.
The additional jail time for driving drunk with children in the car is 48 hours for a first offense of this nature, 10 days for a second offense, 30 days for a third offense, and 90 days for a fourth offense. The additional jail time is unavoidable if the facts establishing child endangerment are proven.
Because of the harsh consequences of Driving Under the Influence with kids in the car, anyone facing this serious allegation may want to consider a plea bargain if one is offered. In a negotiated plea agreement, the driver receives sentencing consideration or reduced charges in exchange for pleading guilty. A jury trial will be risky in that involving children will push the emotional buttons of the jurors.
The sentencing enhancement of drunk driving with children in the car is a serious allegation, and can carry severe consequences. A lawyer who concentrates on defending DUI/DWI cases can explain the implications of sentencing enhancements and devise a strategy to defend each case with the goal of minimizing adverse consequences.