Driving after consuming alcohol or using
another impairing substance can be a serious offense. Indeed, even if your
blood alcohol content (BAC) level is not at or above the legal limit of .08
percent, if you are impaired to the extent that your ability to safely operate
a motor vehicle is affected, you can be charged with driving under the
A DUI charge is, in itself, very serious.
However, certain actions can make a DUI offense–and the related
penalties–even more severe. One of those offenses is committing a DUI with a
child in the car. If you have been charged with driving under the influence
with a minor in the vehicle, here’s what you need to know about the charge and
Defining the Crime of Driving Under the
Influence with a Child in the Car
Not only is DUI a crime in Colorado, but doing
so with a child in the car constitutes child abuse, per
Colorado Revised Statute Section
which reads that a person commits abuse of a child when they:
an injury to a child’s life or health; or
a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury
to the child’s health.
This means that if you are stopped for DUI
with a child in your vehicle, not only will you face DUI charges, but you could
very well be charged with child abuse as well. As a note, a child is defined as
a minor under the age of 16.
Potential Penalties for Driving Under the
Influence with a Child in the Car
First, a review of the penalties for driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, in Colorado:
first-offense conviction could result in jail time of between five days and one
year, a fine of between $600 and $1,000, a license revocation period of up to
nine months, and the installation of an interlock ignition device for up to eight
second- or third-offense conviction for a DUI offense is even more serious. A
second- or third- offense could result in jail time of up to one year, a fine
of up to $1,500, an indefinite license revocation period, and the installation
of an interlock ignition device of up to five years.
In addition to DUI penalties, you’ll also have
to deal with penalties for child abuse should you be convicted of that charge.
If the child is
as a result of the DUI (i.e., the DUI offense does not result in a car accident
and bodily injury to the child), then the offense is a misdemeanor, punishable
by a fine of up to $1,000 and an incarceration period of up to one year.
If the child
result of the DUI, the crime is considered a felony offense. If acting with
criminal negligence, the crime is a Class 4 felony; when acting knowingly and
recklessly, the offense is a Class 3 felony. This could mean up to 12 years in
prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
The most serious offense is one in which
driving under the influence results in the death of a child. Death caused by
criminal negligence is a Class 3 felony; death caused as a result of reckless
conduct is a Class 2 felony. A Class 2 felony is penalized by prison time of up
to 24 years and a fine of up to $1 million.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged for DUI with a minor
in the car, you could be looking at jail time, large fines, and a mark against
you on your criminal record, which could limit your opportunities moving
forward. What’s more, you could also face the loss of custody of or visitation
time with your child. When so much is on the line, the wisest thing that you
can do is to retain the counsel of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer with
experience representing clients in cases like these.
At the offices of Anderson & Carnahan
Attorneys at Law, we are passionate about providing skilled, aggressive defense
for our clients. If you are facing DUI or child abuse charges, don’t hesitate
to call our law office for an initial free consultation and information about
your defense options. Reach us today at 719-473-9099, visit our Colorado
Springs office in person, or send us a confidential message using the intake
form on our website.
Driving Under the Influence with a Child in the Car: What Are the Penalties?
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