It’s never a good idea to drink and drive. Courts punish drinking and driving with a minor in the vehicle especially hard -- and for good reason. In 2017, 220 children were killed nationally in alcohol-related accidents. That, of course, doesn’t include those injured in such accidents. While these accidents aren’t the most common, even one death is too many.
A North Carolina man and his three-year-old child were taken to a hospital in March 2019 after their vehicle hit a brick building. Rescue workers found the man unconscious with the front driver’s side of the vehicle heavily damaged. Police later charged him with DWI, felony child abuse and driving without a license.
DWI penalties stiffen with minors involved
The driver of the vehicle faces serious charges. The state of North Carolina considers a minor’s presence in the vehicle at the time of a DWI arrest an aggravated factor. The same is true for driving with a revoked license, prior DWIs and the like. North Carolina law states that the presence of an aggravating factor automatically results in an Aggravated Level One punishment. This entails a $10,000 fine and one to three years in prison.
The court may also require offenders to participate in the Statewide Misdemeanant Confinement Program that requires offenders to remain sober and use an alcohol monitoring system for 120 days.
DWI is always a reckless crime. Doing so with a child in the car is especially dangerous and the law punishes such offenses accordingly. There are no light punishments for any DWI conviction but the penalties for a DWI with a minor in the vehicle are the most severe.