DUI charges all on their own have some severe potential penalties attached to them. However, there are certain things that can lead to a person facing even heftier penalties than usual in the event they are convicted of DUI charges. One is if their alleged DUI activity occurred while they had a child as a passenger of their vehicle.
Here in Virginia, if a person is found guilty of having committed a DUI offense with a person 17 years of age or younger in their vehicle, there are certain penalties they can face on top of the penalties they are given for the root offense.
For one, they can have additional fines leveled against them. A person can be given an additional fine of $500 to $1,000 for committing a DUI offense while having a child passenger.
They also generally will face additional prison time. A mandatory additional 5-day jail sentence is to be given when a person is found guilty of committing DUI with a child passenger.
If it is a person's second instance of being found guilty of committing DUI with a child in their vehicle, another penalty add-on they face is an additional 80 hours of community service.
As this illustrates, what circumstances are alleged to have been present during a suspected DUI offense, such as what sorts of passengers a suspect had during the alleged offense, can have some significant impacts on what consequences a DUI suspect could end up facing. Experienced DUI defense attorneys can look into the specifics of the allegations leveled against a DUI suspect, help a suspect understand what specific charges and potential consequences they are facing and outline to a suspect what defense options they have.
Source: Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, "Virginia is TOUGH on drunk and drugged drivers," July 1, 2014