Georgia views driving under the influence as a serious offense, but when children are in the car with you, the charges could bring even harsher penalties. You could face convictions on both DUI and DUI Child Endangerment charges.
The Peach State files a separate DUI charge for each child under the age of 14 in your vehicle. Based on the number of children in the car, you could face either a misdemeanor or felony conviction.
Misdemeanor with up to two children
If two kids were in your car when an officer pulled you over, you could receive two additional DUI charges. Your first DUI charge comes from an officer’s allegations of impairment. The two DUI Child Endangerment charges then bring the total up to three separate offenses.
A conviction for three DUIs could result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000. You may also lose your driver’s license for up to five years. A judge, however, could reduce the suspension time if you install an ignition interlock device in your car or attend a treatment program.
Felony with three or more children
With three or more kids in the car, the DUI child endangerment charges could add up to a severe punishment; a fourth DUI offense classifies as a felony in Georgia. If a prosecutor successfully convicts you on all four charges, penalties could include spending up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
You may defend against a prosecutor’s allegations by challenging the primary DUI charge. As noted by WebMD, several factors could cause roadside testing devices to provide inaccurate blood alcohol content results. Because the test result could have shown a false over-the-limit BAC reading, you may contest its accuracy as part of your defense.