The Repercussions of Drinking & Driving in Kansas with a Child in the Car

In December, a Johnson County man was arrested after his vehicle was found traveling over a 100 mph on Kansas Highway 10.   Unfortunately, a two year old girl was also in the car. The man was charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment, reckless driving, and driving under a suspended license. Fortunately, the little girl was not injured, as she was very lucky. However, three children in Georgia were not so fortunate. In February, a man crossed lanes into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on with a taxi cab. A seven year old boy suffered non-life threatening injuries. A 3 year old in the vehicle was severely injured and an eight month old boy was killed at the scene. The man, the deceased child’s father, was intoxicated at the time of the accident and charged with driving under the influence and vehicular homicide.

If these stories sound like horrible, but isolated incidents, think again. More than fifty percent of all children who are killed in drunk driving accidents are riding in a vehicle with a driver who is legally intoxicated. In Kansas, a driver that is found guilty of driving under the influence that had one or more children under the age of 14 in the vehicle with him or her at the time of the offense, will have one month imprisonment added to his or her sentence. This however, is not the only penalty a driver can face. A driver in Kansas may also be charged with endangering a child (or aggravated endangering a child). Child endangerment occurs when a person either intentionally or unreasonable causes a child (17 years or younger) to be put in a situation where he or she may be injured. Endangering a child is a Class A misdemeanor. A person who puts a child in such a situation and the child is injured or endangered is considered to have committed aggravated child endangerment, which constitutes a Severity Level 9 felony.

Another example of child endangerment that can sometimes come out of a driving while intoxicated situation, occurs when a parent tell his or her 14 year old child to serve as his or her designated driver. Allowing an unauthorized minor to drive a vehicle can lead to charges of contributing to a child’s misconduct or deprivation in addition to endangering a child. Parents have also been arrested and charged after having a child (or another person for that matter) blow into the ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle.

Before you think this type of situation could not happen to you, stop and consider this scenario. You and your spouse go out for an evening on the town. You leave your two children home with a teenage babysitter. After a fun evening out, where you and your spouse were both drinking, your spouse informs you that one of you needs to give the babysitter a ride home. What do you do? Call the teenager’s parents and tell them you are intoxicated and cannot drive his or her teenager home? Or do you risk being pulled over for DUI knowing that you could be charged with endangering a child and if found guilty of DUI, could have your sentence enhanced by one month.

Call the Whitman Law Offices Now to Speak with Our Seasoned Kansas DUI Defense Attorney

If you or a family member has been charged with driving under the influence and had a child in the car at the time of the offense, you need to meet with an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 to schedule your free and confidential consultation. At the consultation one of our experienced defense attorneys will take the time to review your case with you and to make sure that you are made fully aware of all of your legal options. We can also arrange to have one of our DUI Defense Lawyers visit you in jail if necessary. The Whitman Law Offices is proud to provide exceptional legal services to clients in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas.

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