The penalty for driving under the influence (DUI) can be severe, even for first-time offenders. Drinking and driving with a minor in the vehicle will make the charges even worse in most cases. In some states, the original DUI/DWI charge is levied more severely, while in others, a DUI with a minor in the vehicle can lead to additional charges.
In serious cases, for example, a minor injured because of drunk driving can lead to child endangerment charges as well. In the state of New Jersey, the DUI or DWI initial penalties are not considered criminal offenses, but they are severe nonetheless:
- First offense: Driver’s license suspension for three to 12 months, fines up to $1000, 30 days in jail maximum, and up to 48 hours of driver instruction.
- Second offense: Penalties include but are not limited to a two-year license suspension, higher fines, and 90 days in jail as a maximum.
- Third offense: Carries mandatory 180 days in jail, and a 10-year loss of license.
DUI offenses will also lead to problems with insurance. Refusing to take a breathalyzer could lead to additional penalties.
There are also additional penalties if the judge decides to do so, including community service, probation, and drug and alcohol classes, in additional to having a criminal record.
What are the Consequences if a Minor is Involved?
The consequences get even more severe if a minor or child is in the vehicle at the time. Judges and prosecutors understandably will take the charges very seriously, as cases involving minors and DUI charges have harsh penalties. Child endangerment and disorderly person charges have been filed in many instances.
Some states will then classify the offense as a felony if one receives a DUI charge that involves a minor, regardless if the minor is an infant or a 16-year old teen. Most states will elevate charges to misdemeanors or to felonies, depending on the severity of the situation and if this is not the defendant’s first offense.
Possible Legal Defenses
So how would someone defend themselves if he or she is charged with such an offense? Considering the above scenarios, it would be quite difficult to prove certain aspects of the case in someone’s favor. However, the defendant does not have to provide the burden of proof, that is the responsibility of the prosecutor.
With this situation, and with any DUI charge, the first thing one must do is contact a knowledgeable DUI lawyer to help. A lawyer will review the case and determine the best possible defense while protecting the rights of the client.
Haddonfield DUI Lawyers at Agre & St. John Protect Those Charged with DUI While Driving with Minors
Any charges against you can be overwhelming for you and your family, but we are here to help. If you are accused of DUI, then speak to one of our experienced Haddonfield DUI lawyers at Agre & St. John immediately. Our experienced DUI lawyers defend the rights of those who are falsely accused. Call us today at 856-428-7797 or complete our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.