In the Ohio court system, an operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) sentence can be enhanced to a DUI plus child endangerment charges if a minor is in the vehicle. With these escalated charges comes a more severe sentencing. Child endangerment is an act that Ohio state law takes seriously, in an attempt to help protect those who are unable to protect themselves. The term “child endangerment” refers to the act or the failure of action that puts the health or safety of a child in danger. In the case of a DUI when a minor is present in the vehicle, it is assumed that the minor was unable to make the decision whether or not to drive or they are too young to drive.
Child Endangerment Laws in Ohio
Under Ohio state law endangering a child is defined as creating a substantial risk to the health or safety of a child under the age of 18, or 21 if the child is mentally or physically handicapped. The risk to the health or safety of the child is criminalized if a direct act was committed or there was a failure to act that allowed the child to sustain physical or emotional harm. The law criminalizes abuse, torture, excessive corporal punishment, and other disciplinary measures that inflict or create the potential for serious physical harm. The law also specifies driving while drunk when the child is in the vehicle or have a child in a house that is used for drug cultivation or manufacturing. The law implies that all adults are charged with the responsibility and duty to protect all children. Depending on the severity and intent of harm inflicted on the child, you may be facing a first-degree misdemeanor or a second, third, fourth, or fifth-degree felony, which each carry different sentences.
How Child Endangerment Affects OVI/DUI Charges
A charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) can be charged if a driver of an automobile is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. DUI/ OVI is a serious offense with varying sentences based on the severity of the intoxication as well as the outcome of the driving, in addition to the number of previous offenses and congruent charges. However, when a minor is in the vehicle, the situation is escalated and you may be facing a DUI Child Endangerment charge. This charge will result in additional penalties to typical DUI penalties. As if the long-lasting effects of a DUI charge wasn’t bad enough, combining the effects of a child endangerment charge can have detrimental effects on your life. In addition to having a felony on your permanent criminal record as well as the fees and fines, potential jail time, and a revoked license, you may find it difficult to find or keep employment or custody of your children.
Defend Against a DUI Child Endangerment Charge
If you are facing criminal allegations of DUI Child Endangerment, you are facing years behind bars, hefty fines, suspension of your license, and removal of your children from your home. To prevent being convicted and serving such a harsh sentence, you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney right away. Your attorney will immediately start evaluating the evidence to prepare a case that will allow your charges to be reduced or dismissed altogether. If you are in need of a DUI criminal defense attorney in Columbus, trust the experience and expertise of Michael Probst and his legal team. Contact Probst Law Office for your free legal consultation today!