What Happens If I Get a DUI With a Minor Passenger?

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    If you have been charged with driving while under the influence (DUI) in New York, you will face severe penalties. The laws pertaining to this offense are stringent, and the courts are aggressive toward offenders. However, the penalties are even more severe for drivers who get behind the wheel with minor passengers after drinking or taking drugs. This is because the Child Passenger Protection Act was introduced in 2009, which imposes harsher penalties for this behavior. Please continue reading to learn the penalties for DUI with passengers under 16 and how our skilled Garden City, NY, DWI/DUI Attorney can help defend your rights. 

    How Does Leandra’s Law Affect DUI Cases in New York?

    In the U.S., all states have child endangerment laws that make it illegal for a parent or responsible adult to knowingly or negligently put a child in grave danger. DUI falls under this definition. As such, the state imposes additional penalties for offenses involving child passengers. The severity of the penalties depends on an offender’s prior convictions. Generally, enhancements for minor passengers increase the possible penalty range or mandate a specific minimum penalty that is more severe than it otherwise would be. In November 2009, New York enacted comprehensive DUI child endangerment laws. This act makes driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs with a minor under the age of 16 years old a felony.

    What Are the Penalties for a DUI With a Minor Passenger?

    First-time offenders driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs with a child younger than 16 years old in the vehicle can be charged with a Class E felony, which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison, steep fines, and install an ignition interlock device for at least six months. Additionally, individuals operating a car with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater with a child under the age of 16 as a passenger will automatically have their license suspended.

    Furthermore, drivers who operate a vehicle while impaired and cause the death of a child passenger younger than 16 years old may be charged with a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Drivers who operate a vehicle while impaired and cause serious physical injury to a child passenger may be charged with a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

    It’s important to note that individuals who are parents, guardians, custodians, or otherwise legally responsible for a child who is charged with DUI while a child is a passenger in the vehicle will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment by the arresting agency.

    If you have been charged with a DUI and a violation of Leandra’s Law, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from the legal team at Grunwald & Seman, P.C., who can help you establish a robust defense strategy. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging times.

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