In Oakland and throughout California, a first time driving under the influence (DUI) offense is punishable by 3 to 5 years’ probation, up to 6 months in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, DUI School, and up to a 10 month driver’s license suspension. These are the penalties for a simple DUI without any aggravating factors (which would enhance the penalties).
What if a driver is arrested for their first DUI offense; however, they had their children in the vehicle at the time of the DUI stop? Will the driver face enhanced penalties? Under California law, it is against the law to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child in the vehicle.
Suppose a parent were to get caught driving under the influence with their children in the car; the parent would face child endangerment charges under California Penal Code 273a PC, a separate offense. Under this section, if a person places a child in a situation that could produce serious bodily injury or death, or willfully places a child in a situation that endangers the child’s health or safety, he or she faces:
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Up to two years in state prison,
- Up to four years in state prison, or
- Up to six years in state prison.
Unlike an act of domestic violence or child abuse, California’s child endangerment law does not require that the child suffered actual physical injuries. Therefore, it’s not difficult for a parent or other adult charged with DUI to also be charged with child endangerment if they had children in their vehicle during the DUI arrest.
Is Child Endangerment a Felony?
Child endangerment is called a “wobbler,” which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. If the offense is charged as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to one year in jail. If it is charged as a felony, it is punishable by two, four, or six years in prison.
Are you facing DUI and child endangerment charges in the East Bay? If so, we urge you to contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed to schedule a free consultation with an Oakland DUI lawyer. When your family is at stake, you need aggressive legal representation – call today!