When an individual is arrested for driving under the influence, it can be a very scary time. This is even more true in the case of a Defendant who is arrested for a DUI offense and has a child under the age of eighteen-years-old (18) in the vehicle at the time of the alleged incident. In those circumstances it is likely that the government will choose to charge the Defendant, in addition to the DUI, with Child Abuse, Endangerment, or Neglect, a Felony offense. Depending on the number of children in the car, the government may seek a charge of Child Abuse, Endangerment, or Neglect, for each and every child that was in the car at the time the Defendant was arrested for driving under the influence.
In order to be convicted of Child Abuse, Endangerment, or Neglect, it must be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Defendant “… willfully caused a child who is less than eighteen (18) years of age to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering as a result of abuse or neglect or to be placed in a situation here the child may suffer physical pain or mental suffering as the result of abuse or neglect.” In the state of Nevada, this serious charge is a Category B Felony, where the Defendant faces spending one (1) year to six (6) years in prison. In addition, there are many collateral consequences to a Felony conviction, such as difficulty finding housing and finding employment. Additionally, a convicted felon cannot vote or legally own or possess a gun.
If the government does not seek a charge of Child Abuse, Endangerment, or Neglect the Court may, pursuant to NRS chapter 484C, consider the fact that the person driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle as an “aggravating factor” for sentencing purposes. The aggravating factor the Courts would consider is if the Defendant had a child younger than fifteen-years-old (15) in the car with him or her at the time he or she was alleged to be driving while intoxicated or driving while “high” on marijuana, illicit or prescription drugs. If the Judge determines that the aggravating factor exists, the Defendant's sentence may be “enhanced” with stricter terms and additional conditions. A First Offense DUI Conviction is a misdemeanor in Nevada. If convicted, the Defendant will be mandated to complete two (2) days to six (6) months in jails. In some cases, the judge may “suspend” the jail sentence, meaning that the Defendant would not go to jail as long as the other sentencing requirements are completed within the allowed time. Another punishment could be completing twenty-four (24) to ninety-six (96) hours of community service. In some cases, the Defendant can pay a monetary amount in lieu of completing the community service hours at a nonprofit organization. The Defendant will have to attend, and successfully complete, a Victim Impact Panel, DUI School, and/or a Coroner's Class. The Defendant can face up to $1,000 in court fines and administrative court costs. If the Defendant is under the age of twenty-one years old (21), or had a blood alcohol content or breath alcohol content higher than 0.18%, he or she may be required to complete an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation and attend an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program. With a child involved, the Judge may also require that the Defendant install an ignition interlock device for a period of one (1) year to three (3) years. Upon conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend the Defendant's driver's license for thee (3) months.
If there is a child in the car, and the Defendant is convicted for a Second Offense Misdemeanor DUI, the Defendant faces spending between ten (10) days to six (6) months in the Clark County Detention Center or Las Vegas City Jail. In some cases, a Judge may order the Defendant to house arrest for the same amount of time. The Defendant faces fines of up to $1,000 and paying $100 for an alcohol/drug dependency evaluation. The Defendant will also have to attend, and successfully complete, a DUI school and a Victim Impact Panel. The Judge may be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle he or she has access to. With the child being in the car being an aggravating factor, the Judge could likely order the Defendant to do the maximum time in jail.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will revoke the Defendant's driving privileges for one (1) year and may require the Defendant to have a SR-22 form from his or her insurance company on file with the DMV. In some cases, the Defendant may be eligible for the Nevada Misdemeanor DUI Court. For more on that, please click here.
The circumstances of each case vary greatly. The quicker that you hire an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney, the quicker he can begin working on your case. It is in your, or your loved ones, best interest to hire an experienced Las Vegas DUI Attorney as soon as you can. Attorney Josh Tomsheck can begin to put this unfortunate incident behind you as soon as you have your consultation with him. He has over a decade of experience working with DUI Cases. Prior to working as a criminal defense attorney, he was a Chief Deputy District Attorney with the Clark County District Attorney's Office. This gives him the unique perspective of knowing how a prosecutor will approach the case, and knowing how to defend the allegations against you or your loved one. For his case results, please click here. For your free consultation, please contact him here today!