While driving drunk is unlawful, having a child in the car while doing so is far worse. Under Pennsylvania’s child endangerment laws, your DUI will automatically be bumped up to a felony.
In addition, the charge of child endangerment will also be added on, which is generally considered a misdemeanor.
Nonetheless, it carries severe penalties if you are convicted. Here’s what you need to know about child endangerment DUIs in Pennsylvania. If you’ve been arrested, call our Pennsylvania DUI lawyer immediately.
What counts as DUI child endangerment?
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle. This crime automatically elevates your criminal charge to a felony, and you can be charged with child endangerment, as well.
DUI with a child in the car is a separate offense that carries its own set of penalties, many of which are more severe than a regular DUI charge that does not involve the presence of a minor child.
Penalties for DUI child endagerment
First, let’s start with the DUI itself. Since the DUI will be considered a felony, it carries more intense penalties. If convicted, you could be facing:
- A fine of $1,000 to $5,000
- Alcohol Highway Safety School
- Jail time of up to six months
- Suspended license for up to a year
- Drug and alcohol assessment and treatment
Additional court-ordered penalties
The court could also order other penalties as well, depending on your specific situation. For example, if this is not your first DUI charge, the consequences could be much more severe. In addition to the DUI, you could (and probably will) face charges for child endangerment. For a first offense of child endangerment (of any kind), you may be ordered to pay a fine of no less than $1,000 and complete up to 100 hours of community service.
For a second offense, the fine is increased to no less than $2,500, in addition to jail time of one to six months. If you are charged with child endangerment for a third or subsequent time, you face jail time of six months to two years, in addition to any fines the judge may order you to pay.
Social and professional consequences of a DUI child endangerment conviction
If you hold a job that requires certification, that certification could be revoked if you are found guilty of driving under the influence. For example, if you work with children in any way, such as a teacher or a bus driver, you could lose your license for DUI child endangerment, potentially forever. Commercial drivers may also lose their license for a DUI, and it can be quite difficult to get it back.
Many employers have enacted zero-tolerance policies for employees who are convicted of DUI, which can lead to job loss, as well. Adding a conviction for child endangerment will only exacerbate the existing situation, and can result in unanticipated penalties. For instance, if you have a job in which you are required to care for children, you may not only lose your job, but you may no longer have the possibility of working in that field again.
Jobs that are potentially impacted by such a conviction may include the following:
- Daycare employees
- Bus drivers
- Sports coaches
How can an attorney help me?
While you can get the DUI expunged from your record, it is a lengthy, difficult process to do so. If you are facing a criminal charge that involves child endangerment, you should engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Steven E. Kellis.
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, we know what a tremendous impact any type of criminal conviction can have on your life and your ability to support your family. We have the knowledge and skills to effectively represent you as you face these charges, and provide you with the professional support that you will need throughout this difficult and stressful process.
Steven Kellis can fight to protect you and your family from the future implications of a DUI or child endangerment conviction. We can help safeguard your Constitutional rights, assert all possible defenses on your behalf, and work toward a quick and fair resolution of your case. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our qualified attorneys today and learn how we can help.
Contact us today
If you are facing a DUI child endangerment charge in Pennsylvania, your best option is to contact an attorney who can fight the charges on your behalf. Otherwise, a conviction may negatively impact your professional and personal life forever. Call Steven E. Kellis today for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.