DUI with Child in Car in Georgia - Pitfalls and Prison Time for Child Endangerment in GA
Although Georgia does not make ALL Child Endangerment cases associated with a drunk driver a felony child endangerment offense, having multiple children under age 14 in a vehicle with any impaired adult driver (usually a PARENT) constitutes a new DUI "count" under Georgia child endangerment law.
In Georgia, two Different Statutes cover Child Endangerment and Driving Under the InfluenceGeorgia's DUI laws have been in place for well over half a century, but a special new provision (subsection 'L" but lower case) of the Georgia drunk driving laws O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 was added in the mid-1990s creating the specific statute that made and offense for merely TRANSPORTING a child while DUI. Each child creates a separate, new DUI offense, that shall not be MERGED with the underlying DUI offense of the driver. OCGA 16-1-12(d). The structure of these two statutes permits STACKING sentences and license suspension or revocation, end to end.
The More DUI with Child in Car Offenses the more likely a Felony Child EndangermentThe crime occurs by transporting a child under the age of 14 years while DUI in Georgia. Georgia child endangerment law makes a first or second offense a misdemeanor, with county jail time of not more than 12 months and/or a fine of not more than $1,000 PER CHILD. A third or subsequent DUI with child in car offense is a felony calling for state prison time of not less than l year or more
than 3 years and/or a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000 PER CHILD. This new offense
cannot be merged with the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs, for purposes of
prosecution and sentencing.
Child Protective Services will be Notified and Possible Administrative Action Taken by Georgia DFACSWhen a DUI arrest occurs, and young children are being transported, police will call DFACS (Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, to the scene. The DFACS worker takes the children to a safe location, and waits for a responsible adult, who is not impaired to come retrieve them. Depending on the facts of the case, subsequent legal proceedings may be initiated against the DUI parent.
Where Divorced Parents share Custody, Child Endangerment Cases can Change Custody and VisitationAny Georgia Divorce Lawyer would enjoy making an easy fee by filing a Petition to MODIFY Custody and Visitation rights, for his Client, whose ex-spouse was arrested for drunk driving with child in car. Plus, a Judge could make the at-fault accused DUI driver pay the petitioning Parent's legal fees. This type of collateral impact on the accused drunken driver's life may be nearly as devastating as the potential loss of driver's license and jail time.