Drunk driving doesn’t just affect a convicted DUI offender. There are victims in any vehicle accident where a person is found to be under the influence of alcohol. When that victim is a child, the whole situation takes on an even worse turn and DUI child endangerment charges can be added to the entire incident. So, when that adult is a parent, how fine is the line between child endangerment and child abuse?
There really isn’t much difference, especially according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
For every drunk driving conviction, it is estimated that the offender has driven under the influence of alcohol around 80 times previously. In this scenario, it is likely that a child was present in the vehicle during many of those trips, and that child had no say in who was driving them around. That’s why DUI child endangerment charges exist, and why a DUI suspect may not only have trouble in court or have an ignition interlock requirement in addition to standard DUI penalties, but also face some scrutiny from the state’s “child protective services” department.
A full investigation could be ordered by the court, not to press charges of child abuse, necessarily, but to see if there are any public resources the family needs in order to live a better lifestyle. Drinking and driving often indicates other problems, and the support that can be found through these investigations can help change lives for the better.
Drunk driving may not fall into a state’s definition of child abuse, but it is certainly child endangerment. As an adult, you are trusted to make the right choices when caring for a child, and it’s a “no brainer” to conclude that driving sober is the only way to go. A DUI affects everyone, including the child in your back seat. Make the right choice and keep children safe from the dangers of drinking and driving.
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