Child Endangerment in DUI
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has severe consequences, such as fines, community services, license suspensions, and even jail times. The consequences become even more severe if the driver has an underage passenger. The reason for this is child endangerment.
Child endangerment refers to the act of putting an underage individual in danger. It is there to protect children from parents and guardians whose reckless and negligent behaviors can cause them harm. One of those reckless and negligent behaviors is driving under the influence, which puts the children at risk of unwarranted traffic accidents, injuries, or even death.
DUI in Tennessee
Driving under the influence has consequences, such as fines, license suspensions and revocations, and jail times, depending on the gravity of the offense.
According to a DUI article from the website of Horst Law, the first three offenses of DUI have fines of up to $10,000, license revocations of up to 10 years, and varying jail times that can be longer than 120 days. The fourth and subsequent offenses have worse consequences, as they are considered Class E felonies. The fines go up to $15,000, license revocations up to 8 years, and times in state prison of a minimum of 1 year.
The base charge for DUI can just be misdemeanors, but they can be elevated to Class D felonies when a child is involved, especially if the child has sustained serious injuries because of the offense. If the child has been killed, the felony is further elevated to Class B, making the consequences more severe. Take note that the child here is anyone under the age of 18. The mere presence of such a person in the intoxicated driver’s vehicle is enough grounds for child endangerment.
The severity of the consequences has various factors, such as the age of the driver and the child passenger, severity of the passenger’s injury, and the number of DUI-related offenses the driver has. In conjunction with the DUI penalties that have been mentioned above, the driver may suffer from a combination of other consequences, such as additional fines, license revocation years, and jail times.