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San Diego DUI with a child in the car Defense Attorney. Child endangerment driving under the influence case in San Diego. Former Prosecutor explains

by | Jun 16, 2020 | DUI, DUI Cases |

San Diego has a high amount of cases where people are arrested for a San Diego DUI with children in the car.

There are people who have very sympathetic circumstances that find themselves in these situations.  

Some examples are:

* A mother whose husband has been deployed and she went out with friends for the first time in months.  She picked up the kids from the babysitter and was driving a mile back home with the kids in the car.

  • A single mother who was at her daughter’s softball tournament.  She had a few drinks with the other parents and thought she was ok to drive home.  These are two of many scenarios where someone can find themselves facing this situation. 
  • If you are arrested in California for DUI, and you have a child passenger in the car under the age of 14, you may face both
  • A DUI charge with a special allegation per VC23572, and
  • A charge of a misdemeanor or felony child endangerment.

The sentencing enhancement for child endangerment is codified in California Vehicle Code 23572.  If you are a first-time DUI offender who is arrested with a minor in your car, you may have to serve up to 6 months in jail for the DUI charge plus an enhanced penalty of 48 hours in jail for the sentencing enhancement.

In DUI cases where there is a minor under age 14 in the car, the prosecutor in the case may charge the driver with the DUI sentencing enhancement or with a separate charge of child endangerment under California Penal Code Section 273(a), or both.  The key is these cases is to be proactive.  Contact the Law Offices of Mark Deniz for a free case evaluation now at 858-751-4384.

One common question is “Can I go to jail for this”?  With most first time DUI cases, I tell people jail is usually not going to be a factor.  However, in these matters, it is a very possible outcome. Misdemeanor child endangerment in California is punishable by a sentence of up to 1 year in jail.  Felony child endangerment in California is punishable by 2 to 6 years in state prison.

The prosecutor must prove both that: (1) you were driving while you were intoxicated and that (2) you had a minor under the age of 14 in the car while you were driving.

Additional Factors the Prosecutor will Consider

  • Whether you intended to harm the child or children.
  • Your Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC when you were tested.
  • Your driving patterns prior to the police officer stopping your vehicle.

The sentencing enhancement can only be applied if you have been convicted of violating vehicle code 23152 VC driving under the influence.  Hiring a skilled DUI Defense Attorney could help with a potential dismissal of the case or a plea bargain to a lesser charge such as a wet reckless or exhibition of speed depending on the facts of your case.

Jail time cannot be avoided if the prosecutor proves that you willfully endangered a child by driving under the influence with a child in your car under vehicle code 23572.  The key is being proactive and getting the judge or prosecutor to dismiss the allegation.  Call the Law Offices of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at 858-751-4384.

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