Driving drunk with kids in the car is child endangerment. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD),20% of children aged 14 and younger who were killed in auto accidents in 2012 were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes. MADD says that drunk driving with a child in the car elevates this criminal act to child abuse.
In Tennessee the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08%. You can still, however, be charged with DUI with a BAC of less than .08% depending on the circumstances. If you refuse to take a blood alcohol test after you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
Under Tennessee law, in addition to the other penalties for DUI, whether it is a first or subsequent offense, you face the following enhanced penalties if you are arrested for DUI and you have a passenger in your car who is under the age of 18:
- Class D felony if the child is seriously injured
- from $1000 – $5000 fine
- 2-12 years in jail
- Class B felony if the child dies in the accident
- 8-30 years in jail
- up to $25,000 fine
- Revocation of license
According to the TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the length of sentence depends on several factors including the person’s criminal history.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense, and law enforcement in TN takes these charges seriously. Each time you get behind the wheel of a car to drive when you are impaired by alcohol or drugs you put not only your own life in danger, but you put the lives of those who share the road with you in danger as well. When you have a child in the car with you, you are placing that child’s life and safety in danger as well. People who get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated are far less likely to make sure the child uses a seat belt. If they should get into an accident while they are impaired, and the child is not restrained, there can be disastrous results. So, make the smart move and don’t drink and drive, and don’t ever attempt to drive when you have been drinking with kids in the car.
If you are facing DUI charges, you need an experienced Franklin area DUI attorney who can advise you of your rights and advise you on the best course of action given your situation.