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    Understanding the Charges Associated With DUI and Child Endangerment in California

    Posted on: July 21st, 2023 by Dod Law

    DUI and Child EndangermentDUI and Child Endangerment

    The implications of a DUI charge are significant, but they become profoundly more severe when combined with a charge of child endangerment. In California, the law treats these offenses very seriously. Individuals may receive harsh penalties that result in jail time, hefty fines, loss of driving privileges, court-mandated substance abuse classes, or probation.

    At Dod Law, APC, we offer experienced legal counsel to help you fight these charges. We understand what is at stake and will work hard to protect your rights and interests. We will investigate the circumstances of your arrest, challenge any evidence, and explore sentencing options to help you put this matter behind you quickly.

    Exploring the Spectrum of DUI Charges

    In California, DUI charges have varying degrees based on the offender’s intoxication level, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the consequences of their actions. DUI charges can be imposed even when your blood-alcohol content is below the legal threshold of 0.08, depending on various factors. However, driving with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit can escalate the charge to “extreme DUI” or “aggravated DUI.”

    When a child is present in the vehicle at the time of the DUI, the situation becomes more dire. Should the unfortunate circumstance of a fatal crash occur, a drunk driver could face murder charges, despite a lack of intent. This is due to the conscious choice made to operate the vehicle while intoxicated, an intentional act posing serious threat to a child’s life.

    The Implications of a Child Endangerment Charge

    The consequences of a child endangerment charge can be far-reaching. When this charge is filed, it means that the prosecutor believes the accused person has placed a child’s health or safety in jeopardy. This charge is considered a “wobbler” in California law, meaning it can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the severity of the alleged act and the defendant’s criminal history.

    A misdemeanor conviction can result in up to one year in county jail, fines, probation, or mandatory parenting classes. In contrast, a felony conviction can lead to imprisonment for up to six years, significant fines, and potentially losing custody rights. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal counsel when facing such serious accusations.

    Potential Charges for DUI Cases Involving Minor Fatalities

    Being involved in an accident while intoxicated, leading to the unfortunate death of the minor, can have catastrophic legal consequences. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the driver may also be charged with:

    Voluntary Manslaughter

    In California, voluntary manslaughter charges may be brought when a person causes the death of another during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of the moment. If, while driving under the influence with a child, a sudden altercation or fit of rage occurs leading to an accident, the accused may face voluntary manslaughter charges. 

    Involuntary Manslaughter

    Involuntary manslaughter refers to the unintentional killing of another person without malice, usually due to reckless behavior. In a DUI scenario involving a minor passenger, if an accident occurs causing the child’s death, the driver could be charged with involuntary manslaughter. This charge applies when the individual is believed to have acted negligently, creating a dangerous situation.

    Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

    Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a specific charge dealing with the death of another due to the negligent operation of a vehicle while under the influence. If a child passenger dies due to a crash caused by a drunk driver, this charge may apply.

    Second-Degree Murder Charges

    Second-degree murder, or non-premeditated murder, may be charged when a death occurs due to dangerous conduct and a lack of regard for human life. In a DUI accident, if the driver understood the risk but chose to ignore it, resulting in a child’s death, they could face second-degree murder charges

    Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

    Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a charge that may be applied when a person drives under the influence, acts in a grossly negligent manner, and causes the death of another. If a drunk driver causes an accident that leads to the death of a child passenger, this charge could be applied.

    Find Out How Dod Law, APC Can Help You Today – DUI and Child Endangerment Defense

    DUI charges that involve a minor passenger are taken very seriously in California courts. Therefore, it is essential to seek experienced and dedicated legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your rights and interests.

    At Dod Law, APC, we understand the weight of these charges and offer capable legal advice and representation. We understand how disturbing the circumstances can be and will tirelessly fight to minimize any damage to your future and reputation. Contact us online at our San Diego office (619) 814-5110 | Vista office 760-814-6025 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your individual case.

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