DUI and Child Abuse
If a driver is stopped for DUI or DWAI and his/her children (or any children) are in the car at the time, the driver will probably be charged with Child Abuse. The theory behind the charge is that the child is unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a danger to the child’s life or health. Child Abuse is a Class 3 Misdemeanor when a person acts with “criminal negligence”. If it is alleged that a person acts “knowingly” or “recklessly”, it is a Class 2 Misdemeanor.
A “child” is defined as a person under the age of sixteen (16) years. A prosecutor will typically argue that the jury should be instructed that ”life or health” includes both physical or mental well-being. However, it us up the Court as to how the jury is instructed. Attentive defense counsel will typically argue that the physical or mental well-being instruction goes too far and “life or health” should be given its plain meaning.
Nonetheless, because of the criminal implications of the charge, as well as the collateral consequences which may occur as a result of a conviction for the charge, a defendant should absolutely seek qualified defense counsel whenever child abuse is alleged. Potential consequences and collateral consequences range from jail time, probation, parenting classes, monitored sobriety, employment problems, social services issues, and child custody and visitation issues.
Attorney Monte Robbins has experience in defending Child Abuse charges. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI and/or Child Abuse, contact Attorney Robbins today for a free case evaluation at 303-355-5148 or 970-301-5541.