What a DUI with Kids in the Car May Mean
Facing a DUI charge in Colorado is often a very stressful experience, and this can be further magnified when a person is charged with both DUI and child abuse because there were children in the car at the time of the incident. In a DUI case, child abuse charges typically stem from the child being in a situation that poses an injury threat to the child’s health or life. This makes the DUI situation even more serious, which is why contacting a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO immediately is crucial to protect your rights and position yourself for the best possible outcome in your specific case.
A child abuse charge from a DUI can come in a few forms depending on the specific facts of the case. One of the more common forms, a Class 2 misdemeanor charge, is when the driver intentionally acted in a reckless way that did not result in the death of or injury to the child. If there is more than one kid in the car, the police usually charge the driver with one count for each of the kids. Another common charge is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is when a person acts in a criminally negligent manner but the child was not harmed in any way.
Keep in mind that child abuse can be charged whether the driver is the parent of kids in the car or not. There is no requirement for a parent-child relationship. Under Colorado’s child abuse law, a child is someone under 16 years old.
If a child is hurt or dies because of a DUI driver’s behavior, the penalties become even steeper. If a DUI driver’s actions cause a child in the car’s death or serious bodily injury, they will be charged with a Class 2, Class 3 or Class 4 felony, depending on the facts of the case. If a child receives injuries that are not considered as the “serious bodily” type, a driver charged with DUI will face a Class 1 or Class 2 Misdemeanor, depending on case specifics. Your DUI lawyer in Denver, CO will review your case and explain which charges may be applicable and what the potential penalties will be.
On top of the fines and potential jail time that can result from DUI and child abuse charges, a driver in this situation will also be investigated by the state’s Department of Human Services Division of Child Welfare over the incident. A child abuse conviction can carry many special consequences of its own, including professional licensing issues, loss of employment and issues with child visitation rights and custody.
Given how high the stakes are in DUI cases, to begin with, adding child abuse charges into the mix can make for a powder keg of consequences for a driver in this scenario professionally, personally and financially. Get experienced legal help on your side, like a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO, as early as possible so your rights are protected, you know all your options, and you have legal support throughout your case.
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