DUI with Children in Vehicle DUI checkpoint

A Rock Hill resident was arrested recently when she was driving drunk with her three minor children in the vehicle at the time. The Rock Hill Police Department reported that the incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning when the Traffic Enforcement Unit was alerted to a swerving vehicle traveling down Cherry Road. A Rock Hill Police officer located and then followed the swerving vehicle for a short distance before initiating the stop, which ended at the intersection of Cherry Road and John Street, in downtown Rock Hill. The officer stated he smelled alcohol emanating from the vehicle. The 34-year-old mother had her three children in the vehicle at the time, ranging in ages from six to thirteen.

According to South Carolina law, the child endangerment definition and penalties provide that the state is permitted to take the child into protective custody if certain elements are met. S.C. SECTION 56-5-2947(2013) Specifically, if a person, who is over the age of eighteen (18), they will be found guilty of child endangerment in conjunction with being convicted when the person eighteen years of age or over is guilty and has one or more passengers under the age of sixteen (16)  in their vehicle when the violation occurs. Id. In the case at hand, the violation rises to the level of child endangerment when the defendant drove while intoxicated with her three minor children in the vehicle, all under the age of sixteen (16).

A DUI charge is serious enough. But when you add child endangerment, the penalties are significantly enhanced, and you may face having your children taken from you and placed into protective custody. The obvious concern is for their safety in addition to the safety of other drivers on the road. However, it is surprisingly easy to find yourself in the position. We have had clients in the past who simply went out to get more beer from the store. They had consumed seemingly little alcohol, and it was early in the evening. They thought they were fine to drive and would never have knowingly placed their children in harm’s way. Nevertheless, when stopped for suspicion of DUI, their children were taken into custody as well, a frightening experience to say the least.

If charged with child endangerment as part of a DUI arrest, you absolutely need to be experienced DUI representation. We are Rock Hill DUI lawyers and will aggressively defend your case. Call us now for answers and potential options.