Pasadena DUI With Child In The Vehicle
While a conviction for Pasadena DUI is serious on its own, there are various factors that, if present, will add penalties to the DUI sentence. Having a child present in the vehicle when driving under the influence will expose the defendant to additional penalties under California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC. If convicted of the DUI charge and the penalty enhancement, a judge can impose jail time in addition to whatever the sentence was on the DUI. In addition, this penalty enhancement may trigger far-reaching consequences for the defendant and may even expose the defendant to criminal liability under California Penal Code Section 273(a) PC for child endangerment.
In order to find a defendant guilty of the California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC enhancement, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following:
- There has already been a conviction for DUI pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC.
- When the defendant was arrested for driving under the influence, there was a minor child who was under 14 in his or her vehicle.
In order for the California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC penalty enhancement to apply, there must first be a conviction on the underlying driving under the influence charge. If the Pasadena DUI charge is dismissed or if the defendant is acquitted; or if the defendant pleads to a reduced charge such as exhibition of speed per California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC or wet reckless pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, the enhancement would be inapplicable.
For those in Pasadena who are found liable under California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC, mandatory jail time will be added on top of whatever was imposed for the DUI conviction. The defendant’s prior record will determine how much additional time is imposed. The following penalties will apply in Pasadena if the defendant is found to have committed DUI while having a minor child in the vehicle:
- An additional 48 hours in custody where the defendant has no prior DUI convictions.
- An additional 10 days in custody where the defendant has one prior DUI in the past ten years.
- An additional 30 days in custody where the defendant has two prior DUI convictions in the past ten years.
- An additional 90 days in custody where it is the defendant’s fourth or subsequent DUI within ten years and the current conviction is a misdemeanor. A defendant’s fourth (or more) DUI within 10 years is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The penalty enhancement under California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC only applies to misdemeanor DUI convictions.
A Pasadena driver who is caught driving while under the influence while a minor child is in the car can also face criminal charges of child endangerment under California Penal Code Section 273(a) PC in addition to the California Vehicle Code Section 23572 penalty enhancement. California Penal Code Section 273(a) PC applies when the minor is under the age of 18 while the DUI penalty enhancement only applies when the minor is under 14.
Under California Penal Code Section 273(a) PC, child endangerment is considered a “wobbler” offense. This means that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When making a filing decision, prosecutors will review factors such as the defendant’s BAC, his or her driving conduct, the age of the minor, and the criminal record, if any, of the defendant. Those convicted of felony level child endangerment can be sent to prison for up to four years. If convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment, the defendant can be sent to county jail for up to six months. A driver can be prosecuted for both DUI with the Vehicle Code Section 23572 enhancement in addition to child endangerment under Penal Code Section 273(a) PC at the same time. In Pasadena, child endangerment will typically only be charged when the defendant’s conduct was excessively grievous, such as where the defendant’s blood alcohol content was extremely elevated or the driving was reckless.
If you have been charged with a Pasadena DUI offense and the prosecution has alleged that you had a minor child in the vehicle at the time of the incident, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Pasadena DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. Pasadena DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney who previously served as a senior trial prosecutor at the Pasadena Courthouse. Mr. Kraut is highly respected in Pasadena and is highly skilled at fighting all aspects of DUI charges.
For more information about the Pasadena DUI with a child in the vehicle enhancement, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena DUI Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 626-345-1899.