An Oklahoma DUI with a child in the car enhances the original punishment for DUI. Rather than a simple felony or misdemeanor Drunk driving crime DUI with your kid in the car can enhance charges including child endangerment. Child endangerment is a serious crime. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also a serious crime. When you are arrested and charged with a DUI in Tulsa, having a child in your car converts a misdemeanor DUI to a felony. Driving with a child in your car when you are legally intoxicated is considered criminal child endangerment under Oklahoma law.
Child Endangerment and Tulsa DUI Lawyers
In Oklahoma, child endangerment law is broader and covers more scenarios than the law related to child abuse. Oklahoma’s child endangerment statute (21 Okla. Stat. § 852.1) makes a person responsible for a child subject to a charge of child endangerment if that person knowingly permits any of the following events to occur:
- The child is physically or sexually abused
- The child is present in a situation in which dangerous controlled substances are being manufactured
- The child rides in a motor vehicle where the driver is intoxicated, or the responsible adult is the intoxicated driver
If you knew or should have known that the operator of the vehicle is impaired by or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are guilty of child endangerment. The child does not have to be injured for the crime of child endangerment to occur. Oklahoma law does not specify the required age of a person to be considered a child for purposes of the child endangerment statute. In this case, a child would be considered anyone under 18.
A parent who allows a child to be in a car with an intoxicated driver is subject to the same criminal child endangerment penalties as the driver. The fact that you were not driving the vehicle is no excuse.
Harm To A Child As Defined By Oklahoma Law
“Harm or threatened harm to the health or safety of a child” means any actual or threatened physical, mental, or emotional injury or damage to the body or mind that is not accidental, including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, or dependency.
Penalties For Child Endangerment
Child endangerment or child neglect is a felony in Oklahoma. If convicted, you could spend up to four years in prison, pay a fine of $5,000, or both. If you have your child in the car with you and get caught driving drunk not only are you facing punishment for DUI but you could also lose your kids.
Defenses To Child Endangerment
The crime of child endangerment occurs if a responsible adult allows any acts that constitute the crime listed under the Oklahoma statute. However, it is a defense to child endangerment if a responsible adult has a reasonable belief that to deny the act would result in substantial bodily injury or harm to the child. Similarly, the statute does not apply to any responsible adult when that adult in good faith uses some spiritual means as remedial care for a child.
DUI Criminal Defenses
If you drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or above in Oklahoma, you are driving illegally under the influence of an intoxicating substance. A DUI is charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Although a serious matter, fortunately, most first-time DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanors. However, Oklahoma law considers it a felony if you have any subsequent DUIs or a DUI with related charges.
Tulsa DUI Attorneys
Regardless of how many prior DUIs you have, even if you have none, if a child is in the car when you are stopped and arrested for a DUI, the State of Oklahoma will charge you with a felony, which is a serious matter with potentially severe present and future consequences. The attorneys at Kania Law Office are experienced and knowledgeable in DUI cases. We can help you fight these serious charges and ensure that your rights are asserted and protected, helping you achieve the best possible result in your case. For more information about how our Oklahoma DUI lawyers can help you call (918) 743-2233 or contact us online.