After being charged with a DUI early this summer, a Spokane city prosecutor recently spoke during a judicial candidate forum hosted by the Spokane County Bar Association. The man was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .161 while his 10-year-old son was inside the vehicle. This case marked the first time that the prosecutor discussed the charges in a public venue and provided insight about what the man would do if elected judge. The prosecutor emphasized that he was embarrassed by the charges and had realized that even misdemeanors have the potential to greatly impact a person's life. This case emphasizes not just that individuals from all walks of life can be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but the great risks that are posed by motor vehicle operators in Washington who drive while intoxicated with children inside of their vehicles.
Child Endangerment Laws
Placing minors or children in danger is very serious offense that can result in individuals facing serious penalties. Washington state's RCW 46.61.507 requires law enforcement officers to make particular notes about any motor vehicle operator who is arrested for driving under the influence or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a minor in the vehicle. Child protective services must be immediately contacted by law enforcement if the vehicle's operator is the child's guardian, parent, or sibling. It is important that a minor for the purposes of this law includes anyone who is under the age of age of 16. As a result, while some might think that child endangerment might only encompass young children and toddlers, the act also extends to many teenagers, as well.
The Penalties Associated with Child Endangerment in Washington State
Endangering a minor is a serious offense that can result in motor vehicle operators facing consequences that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Individuals who are found to endanger the lives of minor in such a way face an additional six months of ignition interlock installation and an additional jail sentence of 24 hours in jail and a fine of $1,000 for a first time offender. Second time DUI offenders charged with this offense face an additional five days in jail and a fine of at least $2,000, while third and fourth time offenders face 10 days of incarceration and a fine of at least $3,000. Motorists who are determined to have a minor in their car while driving under the influence can also expect to face even more severe penalties when sentenced by a court of law.
Obtain the Assistance of a DUI Attorney
No matter the exact details of your DUI charge, the attorneys at West Law Office are waiting to help with your case. Our law office can be contacted today by calling (509) 993-0748 or filling out our quick and convenient online form.