DUI with a Child in the Vehicle (Child Endangerment) Defense in Tennessee
Driving under the influence (DUI) with a child in the vehicle is a serious crime in Tennessee that carries significantly greater penalties than a DUI without a child in the vehicle. The penalties for DUI with a child in the vehicle can be severe. A conviction for DUI with a child in the vehicle can result in a prison sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days, as well as fines, probation, and community service. Additionally, a conviction for DUI with a child in the vehicle can result in the revocation of the person’s driver’s license. The law also states that there will be an additional 30-day minimum sentence for those convicted of DUI with a child in the vehicle meaning that the minimum sentence if convicted at trial would be 32 days to serve in the detention facility. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI with a child in the vehicle, it’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
DUI with a child in the vehicle is governed by the state’s criminal code, specifically Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 55-10-415. According to T.C.A. § 55-10-415, a person commits DUI with a child in the vehicle when they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and there is a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle.
As experienced DUI attorneys, Barnes & Fersten can help someone charged with DUI with a child in the vehicle by utilizing a variety of defense strategies to achieve a not guilty verdict at trial or a favorable negotiated plea agreement.
One of the key things that the attorneys at Barnes & Fersten can do is thoroughly review the evidence against the client and identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. This can include challenging the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood tests, questioning the validity of field sobriety tests, and pointing out inconsistencies in the prosecution’s theory of the case. All the attorneys at Barnes & Fersten work together as a collective unit in determining the best defense strategy for your specific case. This includes each attorney reviewing the bodycam footage and any 911 call that exists on your case, in addition to completing any necessary research to establish your defense. This way you have 3 attorneys reviewing the evidence and working together to establish a strategy to resolve your case as favorably as possible.
The attorneys can also use countless defenses to DUI with a child in the vehicle that may be applicable in your case. These defenses may include:
Being charged with DUI with a child in the vehicle may also have a negative impact on child custody and you may face consequences through the involvement of the Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”). DCS is a government agency that is responsible for protecting children from abuse and neglect. If a child is in a vehicle when the driver is arrested for DUI, DCS may become involved to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. The agency may open an investigation to determine if the child was endangered by the driver’s actions and may take steps to protect the child if necessary.
It is important to know that if DCS opens an investigation, DCS may interview the child, the parents or guardians, and any other relevant parties. They may also conduct a home visit to assess the living conditions of the child. The agency may also ask for a urine or blood test to be done on the driver to check for drugs or alcohol in the driver’s system. If DCS determines that the child was endangered by the driver’s actions, they may take steps to protect the child, such as placing the child in the care of a relative or in foster care. The child may also be removed from the home.
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Call us at (865) 805-5703 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation as soon as practicable so that we can start working towards helping you move forward!