If you are arrested for driving under the influence and a minor under the age of 16 is in your car, you can also be charged with child endangerment. In addition, you will be charged with one count of child endangerment for each minor that is in the car with you. For example, a Bronx man was recently arrested for DUI in Long Island, NY. In his car there were two 11 year olds and one 14 year old. He is now being charged with DUI and 3 counts of child endangerment. It is noteworthy, that there were also four adult passengers in the vehicle at the time of his arrest that were not charged. If you are the one behind the wheel, you are the one who will face the consequences.
A DUI child endangerment charge in Maine will mean additional penalties for you. Child endangerment charges are separate charges from DUI and will be processed and sentenced separately. This guarantees that you will get additional charges for child endangerment. These laws are in place to protect children. Lawmakers want drivers to always think twice before driving a minor after drinking any amount of alcohol. They want to make sure that anyone who is caught driving intoxicated with a minor will face some sort of consequence.
The Bangor Daily News reports that a Biddeford man was convicted of DUI and child endangerment in Kennebec County after being stopped by police with an open container and his 4 year old son in the car. He received a suspended sentence for the OUI conviction but is now serving 3 months in jail for the child endangerment conviction. Every effort should be made to safeguard our children but instead of jail time, sentences of parenting classes and/or substance abuse treatment should be explored as well. The end goal of all of these laws should be to make sure children have a healthy and safe environment to grow up in.