Being charged with a DUI or DWAI can be an extremely stressful experience on its own. When you add passengers into the mix, things can get even worse, especially when the passengers are children.
Having a child in the vehicle during a Colorado DUI arrest can lead to a Child Abuse charge (or multiple counts of Child Abuse) on top of the charges for driving under the influence. A Child Abuse charge alongside a DUI charge often results from a child being placed in a situation that poses a threat to their overall well-being.
There are a few different charges you may face if you’re found driving under the influence with a child (or children) in your vehicle.
Class 2 Misdemeanor
One of the most common charges is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. This charge is when a driver acts “knowingly” reckless, but did not injure the child (or children) in any way. It’s very common for officers to charge multiple counts based on the number of children in the car.
Class 3 Misdemeanor
The next charge would be a Class 3 Misdemeanor. A Class 3 Misdemeanor is charged when an individual acts with “gross negligence,” although no children were injured.
It’s also important to note that child abuse can be charged regardless of the driver’s relation to the children in the vehicle. The fact that the alleged DUI driver has children in the car is more than enough for a charge. In Colorado, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 16.
Penalties when Children are Injured or Killed
When a child in the vehicle is injured or killed, the penalties increase immensely.
Class 2 Felony
If an individual acts “knowingly” reckless and a child dies, they will receive a Class 2 Felony charge.
Class 3 Felony
If an individual acts with “gross negligence,” and a child dies, they will be charged with a Class 3 Felony. Additionally, if the child (or children) sustain severe injuries as a result of the driver’s negligence, the driver will be charged with a Class 3 Felony.
In addition to the penalties associated with Colorado DUI and Child Abuse charges, a convicted driver will likely also face a thorough investigation by the Colorado Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare (CDHS). Additionally, a child abuse conviction may also lead to other consequences such as:
- Loss of employment
- Licensing issues
- Family law problems (including custody and visitation issues)
Protect Your Rights
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado and had children in the car, you will need an experienced defense attorney to help protect your rights and your future. At the Law Office of Kevin Cahill, our team of caring defense attorneys will do everything in our power to protect your rights and keep you out of jail.
Call us today (720) 548-2990 to learn more about how we can help over a free consultation.