Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea. The stakes are even higher when you drive drunk with a child in the car. If you've been arrested for DUI with a child in the car, the state of Mississippi will aggressively prosecute your case. You have the right to defend yourself, and Tupelo DUI defense attorney William Wayne Housley can help. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about fighting DUI child endangerment charges in Mississippi.
What is DUI Child Endangerment?
In 2012, Mississippi lawmakers were forced to address a growing problem in the state: citizens driving drunk with children in the car. In order to deter and punish this dangerous practice, the state created a separate criminal offense for driving under the influence with a child in the car.
The new law, known as DUI child endangerment, is a crime that can be charged and punished separately from and in addition to traditional DUI charges.
DUI child endangerment, as stated in Mississippi Code Section 63-11-30, occurs when a person over the age of 21:
- Drives or otherwise operates a motor vehicle;
- While under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and
- While transporting a child under the age of 16.
Consequences of DUI Child Endangerment
If you decide to drink and drive with a child, you can face charges for both DUI and DUI child endangerment. As a result, the consequences of your actions can be twice as harsh.
The penalties for DUI child endangerment depend on (1) the number of convictions you have for the offense, and (2) whether the child is injured because of your actions.
DUI Child Endangerment, No Injury to Child
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while transporting a child under the age of 16 can be a misdemeanor or felony if the child is not harmed. The penalties that can be imposed depend on how many prior violations of this offense you have on your criminal record:
- First Offense: Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
- Second Offense: Misdemeanor, punishable by 1 year in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
- Third Offense: Felony, punishable by 1-5 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
DUI Child Endangerment, Resulting in Bodily Injury or Death
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while transporting a child under the age of 16 will be a felony if that child suffers a serious bodily injury or death. Felony DUI child endangerment resulting in serious bodily injury or death is punishable by a fine of no less than $10,000 and a minimum of 5 years in prison. Courts have the discretion to sentence a defendant to as many as 25 years behind bars for this crime.
Fighting DUI Child Endangerment Charges in Mississippi
Are you facing charges for DUI child endangerment in Mississippi? If so, your future is in serious jeopardy. Hiring an attorney who understands Mississippi DUI law can help you to secure the very best outcome in your criminal case. Contact Tupelo criminal defense attorney William Wayne Housley today to schedule a free consultation.