DUI with a Child Passenger

When a driver is intoxicated, they endanger the lives of everyone around them. Alcohol consumption leads to impaired reflexes and bad decision making. This, in turn, can result in devastating roadway collisions involving injuries and loss of life. This crime, known as driving under the influence or DUI, is punished harshly in the state of Illinois. However, there are aggravating factors that lead to even harsher penalties, such as having a child in the car while driving drunk.

If you have been charged with a DUI with a child in the car, you may be worried about the penalties you could face if you are convicted. You may also be concerned about additional consequences, such as losing your job or suffering a blow to your reputation. Chicago DUI lawyer Michael O’Meara knows how difficult these situations can be. While you deal with your personal life, our experienced legal team will handle all of the technical aspects of your case. Through aggressive and timely advocacy, we will give your case the best chances of success.

To find out how O’Meara Law can help you avoid the penalties of a DUI conviction, call 312-909-0706 today.

DUI with a Child Passenger is an Aggravated DUI

When it comes to child fatalities caused by traffic accidents, nearly 20 percent are caused by drunk drivers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is for this reason that Illinois considers driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle to be a very serious crime. For you to get convicted, a prosecutor needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs while controlling a vehicle that was transporting a child under the age of 16.

Enhanced Penalties for Aggravated DUI With a Child

The most immediate consequence of any DUI arrest is a license suspension. If you refuse the breath or chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC), the suspension period is one year. On the other hand, if you submit to the breathalyzer test and fail, the suspension period is only six months for a first-time offense.

In addition to these administrative consequences, which are separate from your DUI case, you may face severe criminal penalties upon your conviction in court. The penalties for driving under the influence with a child passenger include:

  • First Offense (Class A misdemeanor) – A mandatory minimum fine of $2,500, 25 days of community service, and up to six months in jail
  • Second Offense (Class 4 felony) – A fine of up to $25,000, 25 days of community service, and one to three years in prison
  • First or Second Offense Involving a Crash that Resulted in Bodily Harm (Class 4 felony): A fine of up to $25,000, 25 days of community service, and between one and three years in prison
  • Third or Fourth Offense (Class 2 felony) – A mandatory minimum fine of $25,000, 25 days of community service, and three to seven years in prison
  • Fifth Offense (Class 1 felony) – A mandatory minimum fine of $25,000, 25 days of community service, and four to 15 years in prison
  • Subsequent Offense (Class X felony) – A mandatory minimum fine of $25,000, 25 days of community service, and six to 30 years in prison

In addition to these criminal penalties, your DUI conviction will result in collateral consequences. Once you are released from jail or prison, you may find it difficult to obtain employment. Many employers will be reluctant to hire you because of your criminal record, especially if you got convicted of a felony. In addition, many careers that require a license – especially trucking, construction, aviation, and even delivery driving – may be out of reach.

Continuing your education might also be close to impossible. Most colleges and universities have strict policies when it comes to admitting new students with criminal records. In addition, it can be challenging to find scholarships and other financial with a criminal record. Finally, if you get convicted of felony DUI, you will lose your right to bear arms. And if you’re a non-citizen, you may face possible deportation.

How O’Meara Law Can Protect Your Freedom

Being accused of a DUI can be scary, but it does not have to be the end of the world. With the help of a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney, you may be able to avoid the harsh penalties of a conviction. One effective defense is proving that you were arrested without probable cause. It might also be possible to prove that your rights were violated before you were taken into custody, which may be the case if the arresting officers pulled you over initially without having a valid reason.

Attorney Michael O’Meara has a proven track record in helping good people get their lives back on track after a DUI arrest. With two decades of criminal practice on both sides of the courtroom, attorney O’Meara is well positioned to lead your case to a good outcome through zealous advocacy and sound counsel.

To learn more about defending your DUI case, call 312-909-0706 now for a free and confidential consultation.