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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Samuel E. Bassett with Minton, Bassett, Flores and Carsey.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence with a minor or child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, not only might you face normal DUI penalties, but you may also be charged with child endangerment and it could even result in loss of custody of the child. While loss of custody is not the most common penalty for these charges, in case of a future custody dispute, it could be extremely impactful in the judge’s decision. If you were arrested for a DUI with a minor in the car, reach out to a defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation. There are ways to defend against these charges, especially if the charges are wrongful.
Law enforcement must have a reason to pull a vehicle over. Unless you were exhibiting signs of intoxicated driving or violating a traffic rule, the officers likely had no right to pull over your vehicle in the first place. If law enforcement involved cannot prove that they had reasonable suspicion to pull you over, your attorney may be able to prevent the use of any evidence collected by law enforcement at that time.
Drivers suspected of operating their vehicle while intoxicated may be asked to conduct a sobriety test, such as walking in a straight line on the side of the road. However, the results of a field sobriety test are not scientifically accurate and can be challenged in court. Many healthy, sober people cannot pass these tests, so the results of one are unlikely to hold up in court.
If you voluntarily submitted to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your BAC after being stopped, how was the test conducted? There are a variety of protocols which must be properly followed at all times in order for the results to be considered useful. Failing to wait the proper amount of time before conducting a breathalyzer test, or allowing blood or urine samples to be contaminated by other sources can lead to untrustworthy results. If you suspect the officers involved in your arrest did not follow protocol when determining your intoxication, tell your attorney and discuss whether this evidence may be eligible to be tossed out of court.
Being arrested on charges of driving under the influence with a young child in the car are serious, and it’s wise not to attempt to defend against them on your own. An experienced defense attorney will know what evidence can and cannot be utilized against you in court, and may also be aware of technicalities in the law which you are not familiar with. For example, if the age of the child is determined incorrectly by officers at the scene, and a child is actually over the age of 15, it is possible that the charges may be dismissed on that error alone. The consequences for a successful DUI with a child in the car charge are serious; don’t attempt to handle this kind of case on your own.
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