A DUI arrest is bad news, but it’s even worse when a child or children are in the car at the time. In fact, a felony charge could result just as they did recently when a Florida woman was arrested for DUI manslaughter and child neglect after she allegedly crashed her SUV with four children and another adult in the car. Tragically, her 3-year-old daughter died.
In the state of Florida, DUI cases involving minor passengers under the age of 18 are taken extremely seriously…even if no one was hurt. For this reason, if you or someone you love was arrested for DUI with a minor present, it is critical to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney, such as Ben Stechschulte, who can mitigate the risk of facing significant, life-altering penalties.
Florida’s Stance on DUI with Minors in the Car
In Florida, having a minor present at the time of a DUI arrest is considered an aggravating circumstance where the minimum mandatory statutory requirements are enhanced.
This means fines will be higher and potential jail time is greater. Also, a mandatory ignition interlock device will be installed on your vehicle if and when your license is reinstated. A first-time conviction can result in the following penalties:
- A minimum fine of $1,000
- Up to nine months of jail time
- Mandatory ignition interlock device for at least six months
Arrested for DUI while a minor was present? Call Stechschulte Nell. We’re available 24/7 at 813-280-1244. Our seasoned DUI defense lawyers can help defend you against these criminal drunk driving charges.
DUI and Child Neglect
In addition to the penalties listed above, you are at risk of receiving an additional charge of felony child endangerment or neglect. In most cases, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) becomes involved and performs regular visits to review your child’s or children’s welfare.
Furthermore, if you share custody of your child or children with an ex-spouse or partner, this type of DUI arrest could be considered a “significant change in circumstance” in which a domestic relations judge in family court could reduce or eliminate your unsupervised time with your kids.
The DUI attorneys at Stechschulte Nell are experienced in handling DUI cases and will work diligently to reinstate your driver’s license as quickly as possible and mitigate your risk in court.
Defending Drunk Driving with Minors Present
At Stechschulte Nell, our Tampa DUI defense lawyers will fight to reduce the charges you are facing from a DUI arrest with a minor present and often implement the following strategies:
- Request for a dismissal of charges if the evidence against you is weak.
- Request to suppress the evidence that is against you if there are problems with how it was obtained or its relevance to the case.
- Closely review witness and officer statements, urine and blood samples, how the traffic stop was initiated, and determine if the breathalyzer test was administered properly.
If we feel the prosecutor has a strong case against you, we may negotiate a plea deal where you agree to plead guilty on lesser charges and avoid the most serious consequences. Should your case be brought to trial, we will present mitigating evidence and explain your unique circumstances that may be used to convince the court to impose the lightest possible sanctions for your DUI charges.
Get Help from a Top-Rated Tampa DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI with a minor in the car, you could face substantial and life-changing penalties. We understand that you are a person and we all make mistakes. Our mission as your attorneys is to mitigate your risk should your case go to trial and help you move forward from a poor decision.
At Stechschulte Nell Law in Tampa, FL, we have a proven track record of success in handling these types of cases and will use this experience to defend your DUI case. Call us today at 813-280-1244 for a free case review.