Getting a DUI is something many people want to avoid. It can lead to serious consequences, including the loss of your license. However, DUIs can and do get worse, especially when children are involved.
A Lake Bluff woman was arrested recently for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police stopped her after they observed her running a red light and exiting a parking lot improperly. Beyond a DUI, she was charged with child endangerment, because her child was in the backseat.
Yes, that’s right: having your child in the car with you when arrested for a DUI can make a bad situation much, much worse. Here’s the breakdown of what happens if you’re charged with endangering a child with an Illinois DUI.
What Is Child Endangerment?
Under Illinois law, child endangerment happens when a child is put in the way of harm as a result of reckless behavior on the part of the guardian or parent.
Under the law, minors have the right to be protected from transgressions that put them in danger. If a court thinks a child will continue to be endangered, then the parent or guardian risks losing custody in order to ensure the child’s safety.
DUI With a Passenger Under 16
Every child in Illinois has the right to protection from the reckless acts of adults. In Illinois, any person who is arrested for driving under the influence with a child in the car will not only be charged with a DUI but also with child endangerment.
Child endangerment carries with it penalties that include time in jail, fines, and, in serious cases, the loss of parental rights over the child. Of course, the judge in such cases will take many factors into account when deciding what the punishment should be. They consider where the crime occurred, how old the offender is, the age of the child, the defendant’s criminal history, and any injuries that occurred. All of these weigh into what the punishment will be.
DUIs in Illinois
Child endangerment penalties will be added to any normal penalties received from the DUI charge.
Usually, the severity of a DUI penalty depends upon the criminal history of the defendant. If you’ve never had one before, you face less severe penalties than someone who has had several DUIs over time.
The penalties that often accompany DUI convictions include:
In these cases, fines of at least $1,000 are assessed, and the driver’s license may be revoked for a certain amount of time – usually about one year.
If a minor is involved, the fine can be raised all the way to $2,500. Jail time can also be a consequence, with first-time offenders possibly serving as much as one year in jail along with community service once they’re released.
If it’s the second DUI conviction within three years, they face a Class 2 felony.
It can result in as many as seven years in prison if a child was involved. The defendant’s license can also be revoked for as many as three years, and fines of as much as $25,000 can be assessed.
If a person gets convicted of a third DUI within 10 years of the prior two, then they face the consequences of a Class 2 felony. If all three DUIs occurred within a five-year period, their license can be taken away permanently.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.