Child Endangerment DUI in Georgia

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Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on March 20, 2023.


Endangering a Child While Driving Under the Influence in Atlanta

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Georgia is a serious offense with escalated charges when transporting a child under the age of 14 years. Your DUI charges will be accompanied by child endangerment.

Georgia law has a harsh penalty for individuals convicted of DUI child endangerment because an adult can recognize that the individual is driving under the influence (DUI). A child, especially one with special needs, may not be able to. Therefore, the adult is responsible for ensuring that reasonable care is taken when a child is on board their vehicle.

You may benefit from the assistance of a Gwinnett County DUI lawyer, given the harsh consequences and the risk to your freedom and reputation.

Situations Involving Child Endangerment

Child endangerment may arise from several situations, including the following circumstances:

  • Failing to fasten a young child’s seatbelt

  • Neglecting to use a car seat for infants

  • Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of illegal or controlled substances with a child in the car

  • Failing to look after a child due to intoxication or the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Leaving drugs in a vehicle where a minor can access them.

  • Driving dangerously with a child on board

  • Leaving a child alone in a vehicle unattended

  • Failing to exercise reasonable care for an impaired child

Georgia Child Endangerment Charges

Under Georgia DUI law, child endangerment is a separate offense from a DUI and carries separate charges for prosecuting and sentencing purposes. The offense may result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, and the charge will be determined by aggravating factors, such as the number of children younger than 14 years involved.

DUI child endangerment charges will be filed for every child under 14 in the vehicle when the person was arrested. For instance, in the case of a car with three children under 14, under Georgia law, the driver would be charged with four separate DUI offenses. A fourth DUI offense automatically elevates a case to a felony in Georgia.

Additionally, the driver will face several years of license suspension and a permanent record as a felon.

Nevertheless, no matter how complex your case may be, criminal lawyers in Lawrenceville can provide you with a potential defense and strategy to help your case.

Consequences of a Georgia Child Endangerment Conviction

Additional charges of child endangerment will seriously impact your driving privileges in Georgia. You will be recognized as a habitual violator and may face penalties such as:

Under Georgia Code (OCGA Section 40-6-391; OCGA Section 16-12-1), the penalties for a person convicted of child endangerment are as follows:

  • A first and second offense is a misdemeanor and shall be punished by not more than 12 months in jail, up to $1000 in fines, or both fines and imprisonment.

  • A third and subsequent offense is a felony with between $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, one to three years in jail, or both fines and imprisonment.

  • A DUI accident causing death to children will create a first-degree vehicular homicide felony DUI which carries fines as high as $10,000 and up to five years in jail, or both fines and imprisonment.

Individuals responsible for caring for children may face more severe repercussions, which risk their careers, including daycare center employees, coaches, teachers, and healthcare providers. When a parent is arrested for DUI child endangerment, the police officer may notify the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), which may result in the children can be temporarily taken into the State’s custody.

If you are separated, divorced, or dealing with child custody issues, your arrest will negatively affect your arrangements. When you are convicted of DUI child endangerment, your ex-spouse or partner may seek primary or sole custody by building a case that proves you are a danger to your children. Therefore, you may lose custody of your children and be required to pay your ex-spouse’s attorney fees.

Further, individuals whose jobs require them to drive, such as truck drivers, bus drivers, and dispatch drivers, may have their employment jeopardized and their professional licenses automatically suspended pending the court’s decision on their case. A license suspension may threaten your source of livelihood and lead to increased car insurance rates in the future.

Fighting a DUI Child Endangerment Charge

You may be found guilty of child endangerment if the prosecution can show that your actions or failure to act were intentional in a way that was likely to injure the child’s physical, moral, or mental well-being; your action or inaction placed the child in imminent danger of serious harm or death; or that you assumed responsibility for the child who was under 14.

Our Gwinnett County DUI lawyer can challenge the prosecution’s allegations and defend your DUI child endangerment charges by attacking the DUI arrest by:

  • Establishing that you were not in actual physical control of the moving vehicle

  • Challenging the way evidence was obtained at the scene

  • Providing evidence of the officer’s misconduct during the investigation

  • Questioning the reason for the initial traffic stop

  • Providing proof that the child was over 14 years

  • Casting doubt on the accuracy of the blood test or field sobriety test (breathalyzer test)

  • Proving that you are not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why Should You Contact Us?

Whether this is your first DUI or you have multiple offenses on your driving record, our DUI lawyer at Philip Kim Law can help you develop a defense strategy for your case. To help you fight for your freedom, we can provide expert witnesses, scientific evidence, and a number of resources that can be helpful to your defense.

Gwinnett County criminal lawyers are well-versed in Georgia DUI law and can improve your chances for a positive outcome in your case. We can also help you preserve your driving rights by filing a request to prevent administrative license suspension while the criminal case is proceeding.

Schedule a free consultation today!

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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