Dohman Law Group Logo

What Happens if You Are Charged With a DUI With a Minor On Board?

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

Are you or is somebody you know being charged with a DUI with a child on board? Receiving a DUI with a minor passenger can have severe penalties. An aggravated or even felony DUI charge may be given for incidents involving a child passenger in the car at the time of the accident.

These types of criminal DUI charges reflect not only poor judgment but also disregard for the safety and welfare of those passengers in your care. If there's evidence that a child was killed due to vehicular homicide caused by intoxication from alcohol or drugs, then you may face murder charges as well, regardless of your intent to cause harm or death.

When charged with a DUI offense involving a minor passenger, it is important to seek legal representation in order to gain an understanding of the possible penalties within your state. Reach out to the Dohman Law Group at 847-359-4005 to book a complimentary consultation with our experienced and skilled DUI attorneys.

What are the Penalties for a DUI with a Minor Passenger?

If you are charged with a DUI in Illinois with a minor passenger under the age of 16, you may face serious penalties. The state of Illinois views operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a minor passenger as an especially egregious offense, which typically results in harsher consequences than those imposed for standard DUI offenses. 

Illinois law considers the following DUI charges as "Aggravated DUIs" and they are considered Class 2 Felony Crimes: 

  • Two or more Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses while a minor under 16 is present in the vehicle.
  • Driving Under the Influence while transporting a child under age 16 and being involved in an accident causing bodily harm to the child.
  • Driving Under the Influence resulting in the death of a minor. Driving license revoked for 2+ years after conviction or release from prison.

Driving under the influence (DUI) convictions may have varying criminal penalties depending on the severity of the offense. In Illinois, felony DUIs have a sentencing range of 3-7 years in prison. Probation is possible for almost all offenses, apart from few Class 2 felonies which are non-probational. An aggravated DUI resulting in death is classified as a Class 2 felony, with a sentence of 3 to 14 years.

handcuffs, car keys, and a glass of alcohol on a table

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in a DUI charge if your blood alcohol level is more than 0.08% in Illinois. Even with a blood alcohol level lower than the legal limit, you can still be charged with DUI if you were driving recklessly and showing signs of intoxication such as swerving, speeding, running red lights, etc.

In some cases, law enforcement may choose to press more severe "extreme DUI" or "aggravated DUI" charges when your blood alcohol level is twice the legal limit or higher and it's evident that you drove uncontrollably due to excessive alcohol or drug intake. 

If you are convicted of this crime, other penalties you may receive are longer license suspensions, higher insurance rates, and mandatory alcohol education courses. It's possible that you could lose custody of your children and you may receive a sentence of months in jail as a minimum sentence. The court might require you to pay thousands of dollars in fines, be at home on house arrest, or require you to complete hundreds of hours of community service.

However, it's important to note that penalties vary from case to case and that's why it's essential to work with a DUI criminal defense lawyer that can evaluate the ins and outs of your case.

DUI with Child vs. Child Endangerment

It's not just a DUI - if you're caught driving under the influence with a child in Illinois, you could face child endangerment charges too. Violation of child safety comes with consequences - hefty fines, imprisonment, and even the forfeiture of parental authority. 

DUI With a Child in the Vehicle

When it comes to DUI charges, driving with a minor in the car can have harsher penalties than drunk driving with other adults or by yourself. If you are arrested for a DUI and there is a child present in the vehicle it could result in an enhanced penalty called DUI with Child.

Depending on the circumstances of the case you may also be charged with child endangerment. In terms of punishment related to these criminal convictions, it depends on whether they are misdemeanors or felonies. Therefore, if you are convicted of this criminal offense, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney who knows what defense merits work best for your specific situation.

Child Endangerment

Child endangerment is considered as engaging in activities that threaten the life or health of a child aged 18 and under and/or placing a child in dangerous circumstances that put their life or health at risk.

Child endangerment is a broad concept, and your prosecutors are allowed to take several factors into account, such as your blood alcohol content level and your prior criminal record, in order to decide whether or not they will pursue charges against you. According to Illinois law, if you were aware and conscious of what you were doing and you caused harm to a child while driving intoxicated, you may be charged with child endangerment. 

In Illinois, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child aged under 18 as a passenger constitutes child endangerment. Child endangerment is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If the convicted individual is a parent, probation may be given as part of the sentence. Subsequent convictions for endangering a child are classified as Class 3 felonies.

If a child dies due to child endangerment, the crime is classified as a Class 3 felony offense and upon conviction, carries a jail time sentence ranging from two to ten years.

What if My Child Was Not Injured or Endangered?

Even if your child was not injured or endangered, you still may face harsher punishments due to simply just having them in the car. In Illinois, typically the first offense of driving under the influence (DUI) with a minor in the vehicle incurs additional penalties.

  • $1,000 minimum fine.
  • Twenty-five days of service in a program that provides benefits to children.
a photo of the interior of a car with a child's car seat in the back

Subsequent offenses will carry more severe sentences. The court will take into account your specific case such as your driving record, your blood alcohol concentration level, and if you have had previous drunk driving offenses. Because every case is unique, it is important to have legal representation to help you understand the potential penalties you may face.

Will I Go to Jail for DUI Child Endangerment?

The court considers each DUI child endangerment case separately and will make the decision on whether or not it requires a jail sentence. Depending on your circumstances, the court may impose house arrest, give you a monetary penalty, and/or require you to complete many hours of community service. However, if a child is severely injured or killed in an accident due to impaired driving, you will likely face serious criminal charges.

Don't Wait Around, Call Dohman Law Today!

Driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle can result in severe criminal charges. A parent's rights may be terminated if they are convicted of endangering a child and it's possible that intoxicated drivers could receive a jail sentence and felony charge if there is a minor involved.

It is recommended that you consult with a criminal defense attorney experienced in your case, as the outcomes of legal proceedings may be severe. The Dohman Law Group offers free consultations for those in need of DUI and criminal defense lawyers. To have your impaired driver case examined, please call 847-359-4005

Text Us
homebubblecrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram