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Michigan OWI: Child Endangerment DUI Laws

What is child endangerment charge in Michigan? In Michigan, transporting a child under the age of 16 while driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or being impaired by any amount of a controlled substance in your system is considered DUI child endangerment. All but three states across America (NM, VT and SD) have special child endangerment DUI-DWI-OUI-OWI offenses on their books.

Some states, like New York and Missouri, make even a first offense child endangerment conviction a felony. Like the Michigan penal code, the child endangerment laws in about forty states are misdemeanors, at least for a first offense DUI with child in car. Other states have different rules about child passengers, such as the Georgia driving to endanger law that targets only those children under age 14 in the car, but which adds a new DUI charge for every one of the child passengers in that vehicle.

This quote from a paper published by a division of NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in 2005 highlights a multitude of types of dangerous conduct that put children at risk. “The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) estimated that between 1985 and 1996 463 children 14 and younger were killed in alcohol-related car crashes. Sixty-four percent of these children were killed in the hands of their guardians; they were passengers in the impaired driver’s vehicle. More than 16,000 other children were injured. Unfortunately, the situation is worsening.”

A Michigan OWI child endangerment conviction can have a lasting effect on your life, which is why it is so important to retain the representation of an experienced DUI defense lawyer. If you are a parent, an OWI conviction in Michigan can impact your relationship with your children. For example, if you are divorced and have a custody arrangement with your former spouse, a DUI-OWI conviction could be used to convince a judge to restrict your custody or visitation rights.

Simply being charged with child endangerment due to having a minor in the car under age sixteen can disrupt a person’s life plans. For example, if you are considering adopting a child, a drunk driving conviction on your criminal history could negatively affect your adoption application.

A Michigan judge looking after a child’s best interests will carefully consider any prior criminal history of a petitioning parent that could expose that child to an increased chance for bodily injury or death, from driving safety problems or other prior charges, like domestic violence.

Penalties for DUI and Child Endangerment Charges in MI

Will I go to jail for child endangerment? YES, if convicted of that criminal offense.

A first offense DUI-OWI child endangerment charge is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 (plus court costs), 30 to 90 days of community service, and the revocation of your driver’s license. As for incarceration, you may be sentenced to five days to one year in prison, though all but 48 hours could be suspended by the judge.

Because a second OWI child endangerment charge or one prior endangerment and any other second OWI, is a felony, the penalties are substantially increased. The potential punishment for a conviction includes $500 to $5000 in fines as well as 12 to 60 days in prison and 30 days to one year of community service or probation with 30 days to one year in a county jail and 60 to 180 days of community service, depending on the circumstances.

DUI charges for a driver under age 21 are even more severe. If an underage driver violates Michigan’s Zero Tolerance law while driving a friend or sibling under the age of 16, he or she could be sentenced to 60 days of community service or $500 in fines or up to 93 days in jail.

An underage driver facing a second DUI with a minor who is not yet 16 years of age, in contravention of the Zero Tolerance statute while engaging in a child endangerment charge may result in $200 to $1,000 in fines (plus court costs) as well as five days to one year in jail, 48 hours of which are mandatory, or 30 to 90 days of community service. One zero tolerance plus two more OWI convictions equals a felony.

Contact a Michigan Child Endangerment DUI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with Michigan OWI child endangerment charges, you should carefully evaluate criminal lawyers near me and hire the fight your charges to avoid a conviction as well as to protect your reputation and criminal record. Below, see our many satellite office locations that we maintain to be able to serve your legal needs. Since our firm offers a no-obligation case analysis and initial legal advice at no cost to you, why not take advantage of our FREE lawyer consultation? Call today at 248-206-5531.

At the Barone Defense Firm, all six lawyers at our law firm have years of experience defending Michigan OWI cases, including endangering a child. Using their training, experience and knowledge of the Michigan court system, the criminal attorneys at our law office can investigate the circumstances of your case to uncover evidence that can help with your defense.

 

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