Driving Under the Influence with a Child in the Car

Driving Under the Influence with a Child in the Car

DUI Laws in Virginia
No matter the circumstances, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Virginia brings serious consequences. Those consequences will become even more severe if you’re pulled over for driving drunk while transporting a person under age 18. Read on to learn more about the offense known as DUI child endangerment.

There are numerous ways that the offense of driving under the influence can be considered “aggravated” in some way, including by having a blood alcohol level of .15% or higher, or by causing serious injury to someone else in an alcohol-related crash. One particularly serious drunk driving-related charge is that of DUI child endangerment. Virginia residents who are convicted of DUI child endangerment, or driving with a blood alcohol level over .08% with a child passenger who is under 18, could receive a fine between $500 and $1000, as well as a mandatory minimum five days’ imprisonment, in addition to the standard penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence. For a second offense of DUI child endangerment, individuals could face 80 hours of community service in addition to the aforementioned penalties. If the child found in your car is your own child, you could even face serious consequences such as losing custody or visitation rights. The punishment will become even more serious if the child is injured in the crash. One local woman was recently sentenced to nine years in prison when she crashed her car while driving drunk, and the accident caused her son to become fatally injured.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 20% of all children who were fatally injured in car accidents in 2012 were victims of alcohol-related crashes. Over half of all those children were passengers in the car of the person driving under the influence. These children are also less likely to be wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, further increasing the likelihood that they will be injured in a crash. If you face charges of DUI child endangerment, these sorts of statistics could cause a jury to assume the worst about you, without aggressive and intelligent representation before the court.

If you are facing criminal charges for DUI or DUI child endangerment, don’t risk losing your freedom or developing a criminal record; get help defending yourself against such charges by contacting the seasoned and aggressive Virginia criminal defense attorneys at the Pack Law Firm for a consultation, at 540-586-7225.

What to Do if You Are Stopped for DUI in Virginia

What to Do if You Are Stopped for DUI in Virginia

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The state of Virginia is known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation.  Being convicted of a DUI in Virginia can affect your family, career, and finances.  If found guilty, even for a first offense, you could be jailed, face heavy fines, or even suspension of your driver’s license.  If you’re pulled over for a DUI in Lynchburg, VA or the Bedford, VA area, you need to do several important things to protect your rights.

Why You Might be Stopped for DUI

Most DUI stops are the result of what is known as a reasonable suspicion.  This means that an officer observed driving behaviors that made them suspect that you could be driving under the influence. These might include:

  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Excessive speed
  • Driving too slow
  • Making an illegal turn
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Erratic driving
  • Frequent braking or stopping
  • Driving at night without headlights

The DUI Stop

Every part of the DUI stop will be recorded in the police report, which will be used against you in court.  Remember that the police officer is collecting evidence based on each move you make and every word you say.  As soon as you see police lights flashing in your rear view mirror, pull over to the side of the road as smoothly and safely as possible.

Roll down your driver’s window and have your license and registration available for the officer. Avoid making any sudden moves inside the vehicle and keep your hands where the officer can see them as they approach.  If the officer asks you to get out of the vehicle, you need to do this, or you’ll certainly be arrested on the spot.

It’s natural to be nervous when dealing with the police, but it’s important to remain calm and avoid anger or sarcasm.  Being rude to the officer isn’t going to help your situation in the least and could result in your wearing handcuffs sooner rather than later.  Always be polite and cooperative, with a few important exceptions.

Don’t Admit Guilt

Anything that you say to the officer is going to be used against you.  It would be a mistake to admit that you’ve even had “just one drink.”  The only questions that you need to answer relate to your name, address, and license information.  However, if you haven’t consumed any alcohol or taken any drugs, now would be the time to stress this to the police.  If the officer asks for other information, you can simply respond with, “I’ve been advised not to answer that question.”

Field Sobriety Tests in Virginia

If you’re pulled over for a DUI in Virginia, it may not be in your best interest to consent to field sobriety tests.  These are not mandatory tests, and you have the legal right to refuse them.  These exercises are incredibly subjective, and any results will be used against you in court.  If asked to do this, remain polite, but decline to participate.

Breathalyzer Tests in Virginia

The state of Virginia has an implied consent law.  This means that, by driving in the state, you agree to take a breathalyzer test if pulled over by a police officer under suspicion of DUI.  If you refuse a breathalyzer, there are consequences such as an automatic one-year suspension of your driver’s license.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Lynchburg or in Bedford, VA, get help from an experienced DUI attorney.  Unlike other traffic charges, a DUI conviction can have serious and lasting consequences, especially if there was an accident or injuries involved in the incident, or if you’ve had more than one offense.  The experienced DUI lawyers at the Pack Law Group will work hard on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.  Contact us at (540) 586-7225 for a free, no-obligation consultation.