While some may believe that driving under the influence (DUI) is not a serious crime, more Georgians go to jail for DUI charges than any other crime. In many cases, you can face jail time, pay hefty fines, and log lengthy community service and driving school hours. The harsh reality is that a DUI conviction can dramatically change your life without an experienced DUI attorney like Mickey Roberts who can effectively handle a DUI. It may be hard to imagine much worse than the consequences of a DUI in itself. However, when you add a child endangerment charge on top of a DUI, the punishment undoubtedly increases.

under 21 dui in georgiaAny person charged with DUI while transporting a child under 14 can also be charged with a separate charge of “DUI Child Endangerment.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20% of children under 14 who were killed in car crashed in 2014 were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes. Of the 239 children from this group, 52% were passengers in vehicles with drivers who had a BAC of .08 or higher.

In some states, child endangerment constitutes child abuse. Statistics show that impaired drivers are less likely to use proper safety restraints for their children. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, sober drivers in fatal crashes properly restrain their minor passengers an average of 30.5% of the time, while only 18% of impaired drivers do.

Child Endangerment is actually a separate crime than DUI. The endangerment charge cannot be “merged” into the DUI. It cannot be dismissed just because you plead guilty to the DUI. Additionally, child endangerment is considered a separate DUI offense by the Department of Driver’s Services. Therefore, if you are convicted of DUI while transporting two children under 14, you would automatically be declared a Habitual Violator because you would have three DUI convictions.

While 3 DUI convictions would carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $5000 fine, a 4th DUI arrest would be considered a felony, with a possible sentence of one to three years in prison and a $5000 fine.

Regardless of whether your DUI is considered a felony or a misdemeanor, it is important to keep in mind that a drunk driving child endangerment conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently. Consequently, anyone who performs a background check will be enabled to see your conviction of driving under the influence and endangering the life of a child.

Because a flawed criminal record can limit your suitability and acceptance for employment, housing, and educational opportunities in the future, it is important to hire a DUI lawyer like Mickey Roberts who also is knowledgeable in getting arrest records restricted from public view.  If you are arrested for DUI or other traffic violations, contact Mr. GaDUI today. Also be sure to follow Mickey on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for more traffic law updates and news.