In Tennessee, a DUI conviction results in harsh criminal penalties, including driver’s license suspension, fines, and even a jail sentence. However, the punishment is even worse if a child passenger is involved in the offense.
If you a charged with a DUI in Tennessee and had a minor in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, a conviction is punishable by a mandatory minimum jail term of 30 days and a maximum fine of $1,000 – even when the child is uninjured. On the other hand, if a child suffers a serious or fatal injury, then the charges and penalties significantly increase.
If you committed a DUI with a child passenger and the child suffers a serious injury, this offense is considered “vehicular assault,” which is a Class D felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 12 years and a fine of up to $5,000. If you committed a DUI with a child passenger and the child dies, then you will be charged with “vehicular homicide,” which is a Class B felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years and a maximum fine of $25,000. If you had two prior DUI convictions, a vehicular homicide charge is a Class A felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 60 years and a fine of up to $50,000.
When a child is involved in an arrest, police officers will attempt to contact the responsible family member to pick up the child. Such family members include the driver’s spouse, the child’s other parent, or another relative. If law enforcement officials are unable to get in touch with a responsible adult, then they may reach out to the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to take custody of the child.
If you have been charged with DUI child endangerment in Knoxville, contact Eldridge & Blakney, PC today at (865) 544-2010 for a free initial consultation. Get a legal team with more than 55 years of combined experience on your side immediately!