Driving under the influence (DUI) is an unnecessary risk. Penalties for just your first DUI could be life altering and include prison time, fines and ignition interlock devices. Subsequent DUI arrests only bring steeper penalties.
The personal legal ramifications for a DUI are severe, but did you know they increase when minors are in the vehicle? Not only does a DUI endanger yourself and other motorists, but the same is true of your passengers, especially children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2017 that 19 percent of motor vehicle fatalities in children 14 years old and younger involved alcohol nationwide.
If you’re arrested for a DUI with a minor in the car, you’re almost guaranteed a longer sentence. A first-time offender can face a maximum sentence of six months but that jumps to nine months with a minor in the vehicle. The sentence for a second-time offender jumps from nine months up to one year if one of your passengers is a minor.
DUIs are expensive in the first place and they don’t get cheaper with minors in the vehicle. First-time offenders may receive a $500-$1,000 fine but the presence of a minor increases those numbers to $1,000-$2,000. The fines increase with each DUI conviction and double with minors in the vehicle. For instance, fourth-time offenders as will receive a minimum $2,000 fine but if a fourth DUI involves a minor as a passenger jumps that fine to a minimum of $4,000.
It’s never worth it
Driving under the influence is reckless enough as it is and more avoidable than ever thanks to the proliferation of ride sharing services. The best way to avoid any of these penalties is to never get behind the wheel after drinking.