DUI Child Endangerment In Michigan

All drunk driving charges are taken seriously in Michigan. However, there are certain aggravating factors that can lead to more serious charges. One aggravating factor that has not been looked upon kindly involves drunk driving with a minor passenger in the vehicle.

What is Child Endangerment?

MCL 257.625 (7) covers child endangerment in Michigan with respect to driving drunk with a minor passenger. The charge is essentially an OWI (operating while intoxicated), OWVI (operating while visibly impaired/impaired driving), or any other motor vehicle offense involving alcohol or drugs; but with the added element that there be a passenger under the age of sixteen years old along for the ride.

Penalty

As one would probably expect, the penalties imposed for this offense are far more severe than normal drunk driving offenses.

First Offense (a misdemeanor)

• A fine of $200 — $1,000; and
• Up to 5 days – 1 year in jail;
• Up to 30 – 90 days of community service;
• License suspensions up to 90 days and license restrictions up to 180 days;
• Vehicle immobilization is permitted up to 180 days;
• Vehicle forfeiture is allowed.

Second Offense (within 7 years is a felony)

• A fine of $500 — $5,000; and
• Up to 1 – 5 years in prison;
• Probation with up to 30 days – 1 year in jail;
• Up to 60 – 180 days of community service;
• License will be revoked for at least 1 year;
• Your license plate must be confiscated;
• Vehicle immobilization is required for 90 – 180 days unless the vehicle is forfeited;
• Vehicle forfeiture is allowed.

Get a Michigan Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, and a minor was in the vehicle with you, it is extremely important to contact an experienced drunk driving attorney. It is important to remember that prosecutors have broad discretion and the ability to add new charges at any time. Just because you were originally charged with a single drunk driving offense does not mean that other charges won’t be added later on. Talking to an attorney will give you an understanding of how the game is played, and whether you are in position to accept a plea agreement or go all the way to trial.

The penalties for child endangerment speak for themselves. Judges, prosecutors and police officers do not like giving deals on these kinds of charges. Not to be lost in this conversation is that the prosecutor has the burden of proving an underlying drunk driving offense in addition to a minor child being involved. Only an experienced lawyer can tell you whether you are guilty of a crime. Contact our office for a free initial consultation at 586-268-2400.