Driving children while intoxicated is not legal, per se. However, when your passengers are children, then you could easily face child endangerment charges. Also, your penalties will be more severe and you’ll have to deal with child protective services.
To put it simply, a case like this is complex and requires a skilled and experienced attorney. If you were involved in such an accident, make sure to contact a Portland DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
How Having a Minor Passenger Affects DUI Penalties
When you drive minor passengers and you happen to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your penalties will include fines, license suspension, and even prison time.
Plea Bargaining and Sentencing
Having a child in the car when driving under the influence is an aggravating factor and can affect the penalties. Having a minor passenger is not an easy thing, and the prosecutor won’t have the will to offer good plea deals. So, in case the defendant wants to enter a plea bargain instead of going to trial, he/she may end up with even more severe penalties than defendants who didn’t have aggravating factors such as kids in the car.
If you were convicted at a trial, the judge will determine the penalties that are set by the law. The judge will tend to be hard on the defendant who drove children while intoxicated. So in such a situation, the defendant can’t really expect some favorable treatment.
Keep in mind that if the children are yours, there is a high chance that CPS will get involved with your family. In case you’re divorced, this could be a strong case against you and you may not be allowed to see or get close to your children. You may or may not lose custody. The CPS will want to investigate and monitor your case just in case to check if you are an ongoing risk to the kids.
Oregon Laws for Driving Children
According to child endangerment laws, any person who puts a child (or a person who isn’t able to protect themselves) in a harmful way by driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face charges. The law dictates much more severe punishments than the standard DUI laws mandate.
If an officer in Oregon pulls you over and it turns out you’re drink or drugged while driving children in your car, the officer may arrest you. Oregon’s legal limit for adult drivers is .08. Anything else above this is considered a crime. If there are no minors in your car, the conviction for driving while intoxicated may pass as a Class A misdemeanor. These convictions are usually followed by a minimum fine of $1000. However, having a child on board while driving drugged or drunk, may lead to a fine of $10 000.
Consult With a DUI Lawyer
You should never consider going into the legal process on your own. Such cases are complicated and challenging to try and deal with them on your own. If your child was transported by a drunk driver (school bus driver, a parent, relative, or neighbor) you shouldn’t think twice before seeking legal help. Even if your kid had minor injuries, you should still seek a compensation claim for the trauma. Even though the child seems fine at the moment, pain and suffering may interfere with their lives and stop them from enjoying simple activities. For severe injuries, you’ll have to seek a compensation claim. Surgeries, treatments, rehabs, your lost wages so you can take care of the child – all of these things will seriously affect your budget.
Seeking the claim with your lawyer is a good option since they know how to write a letter of demand, negotiate with the insurance company of the liable driver, and so on. Many people wouldn’t want to file a lawsuit or a claim against the drunk driver if they know this person. Sometimes it could be an older sibling, a parent, or a relative. You should know that you aren’t filing a lawsuit against them personally, but simply are demanding a settlement that will help you cover all the medical bills and other expenses that followed after the accident.
If you’re worried about your case and want to be sure that things will work out in your favor, our team at Trilogy Law Group is here to answer your questions. We will review your case and help you with everything in the upcoming process.