California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC: DUI With Minor Passenger
1. Definition and Elements of the Offense
While driving under the influence pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC is a criminal offense that carries specific penalties, there may be factors present that would add to those penalties. One of these sentencing enhancements involves driving under the influence with a minor passenger who is under the age of 14 pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC. If this enhancement is imposed, a defendant can face penalties in addition to those imposed on the DUI offense.
In order for this enhancement to apply, only the following elements must be present:
- The defendant was convicted of driving under the influence under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC.
- A minor under the age of 14 was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
In addition to the penalty enhancement, someone who commits a DUI offense when they have a minor passenger can also be charged with child endangerment under California Penal Code Section 273(a) PC. This can apply in any situation where the passenger is under 18 and it is a "wobbler" offense that can be filed as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
2. Related Offenses
Similar offenses include the following:
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs - California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC
- Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08 Percent or Higher - California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC
- Child Endangerment - California Penal Code Section 273(a) PC
A man attends a family function with his wife and two teenage children, who are 15 and 13 years old. The man has a few drinks at the function and is stopped by police on the way home for having a burned-out license plate light. The man is investigated for DUI and found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. In addition to be charged with driving under the influence pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, the man could face additional penalties under California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC because he had a passenger under 14 in the car at the time of the DUI incident.
In the same example, because of the man's low blood alcohol content, the prosecutor handling his case offers to dismiss the DUI charge in exchange for his plea to wet reckless in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC. The penalty enhancement would not apply to the man because there would be no DUI conviction under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC.
4. Defenses to the DUI with a Minor Passenger Penalty Enhancement
This DUI enhancement only applies to defendants who have been convicted of a DUI charge under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC or California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC. Thus if the defendant's DUI offense resolved as a reduced DUI charge, such as wet reckless pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, then the penalty enhancement for having a minor passenger in the car would not apply.
If a judge imposes the DUI with a minor passenger penalty enhancement under California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC, the following penalties can be added to whatever sentence was received for the DUI charge: 48 hours in jail on a first-time DUI conviction, 10 days in jail on a second DUI conviction, 30 days in jail on a third DUI conviction and 90 days in jail in addition to whatever sentence is imposed on a person's fourth or subsequent DUI conviction.
6. Criminal Defense for Los Angeles DUI
If you have been charged with a Los Angeles DUI offense with the additional allegation that there was a minor passenger in the vehicle, it is important that you consult with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is highly respected throughout the court system for his dedication to his clients and extensive knowledge of DUI law. Mr. Kraut fights hard on behalf of his clients to ensure they receive the best representation possible.
For more information about DUI with a minor passenger penalty enhancements, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles DUI Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.