Drunk Driving Is a Serious Crime in Florida – Drunk Driving With a Child in the Car Is Worse

Drunk driving (DUI) is a crime in Florida, as it is in other states. Even a first DUI conviction could result in jail time, fines, and other penalties. However, if you have a minor in the car while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be charged with an enhanced DUI, and the consequences may be even more severe.

You have too much at stake to take your defense lightly. Instead, you deserve the help of an experienced Palm Beach DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert David Malove. Robert is a founding member of the National College for DUI Defense, Florida Bar Board Certified as an “expert/specialist” in criminal trial law, and well respected by his former clients. His client Marie said this about working with Robert, “I cannot say enough about what a great job Robert Malove did for me. Not only is he a terrific lawyer, but he is a compassionate and caring person who I am happy to say has become my friend. All of the things his other clients have written about him are true. If you are in trouble and need to find a great lawyer, look no further. Malove is the one!”

Understand the Charges Against You: DUI With a Minor Passenger

Section 316.193(4) of the Florida Statutes defines the crime of drunk driving with a minor passenger. According to the law, a person may be convicted of an enhanced DUI for driving under the influence with a minor in the car if they:

  • Are driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle. You may be found to be in physical control of your car even if the car was parked. If the keys are in the ignition and you are in the driver’s seat, the state may argue that you had physical control of your vehicle.
  • Are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled chemical substance that impairs their normal faculties. The police may determine this in a variety of ways. Two common tests include blood-alcohol tests and breath-alcohol tests. A person who has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per milliliters of blood or who has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath may have violated the law if the tests were done correctly.
  • Had a passenger who was under the age of 18. The minor does not need to be related to the driver.

The prosecution must have evidence that supports each element of the drunk driving with a minor passenger charge, and that evidence must be enough to convince the court that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Possible Penalties for DUI With a Child in the Car

If you’re convicted of drunk driving with a minor child in your vehicle, you could face:

  • A fine. Your fine will be not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 for your first conviction, not less than $2,000 or more than $4,000 for your second conviction, and not less than $4,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
  • Prison time. Your first conviction could result in prison time of up to nine months. Your second conviction could result in a prison sentence of up to one year. Additional prison time may be possible for a third or subsequent conviction. 

You may also face additional penalties, including, but not limited to, an ignition interlock on your vehicle and suspended or revoked driving privileges.

There is also the embarrassment of a DUI conviction. Your employer, friends, and neighbors may all know that you’ve been convicted of a crime.

Finally, you could face additional charges and criminal penalties for child endangerment, which could result in increased fines, a longer time in prison, and a felony conviction that could impact your employment, housing, and family. The Florida Department of Children and Families may become involved.

Enhanced DUI Defenses

Your Palm Beach DUI defense attorney will create a unique defense plan based on the facts of your case. Some of the possible defenses we will consider include:

  • You weren’t intoxicated. Sometimes, police officers make mistakes. For example, we’ve represented a client who blew over the legal limit on a breathalyzer test. That client had diabetes, and their medical condition interfered with the breathalyzer results. We will carefully examine the police officer’s observations and use of field sobriety tests. Additionally, we will talk to any potential witnesses who could testify about whether you were drinking or under the influence of drugs. Finally, we will thoroughly review whether the police complied with state requirements for blood, breath, or urine testing.
  • You weren’t driving. The state must prove that you were driving the vehicle. If there is reasonable doubt as to whether you or someone else in the vehicle was behind the wheel, you may be acquitted, or the charges against you may be dropped.
  • You weren’t in control of your vehicle. If you were in a vehicle but did not have keys readily accessible or if someone else was in control of the vehicle, you may have a defense against the DUI charges you face.
  • Lack of probable cause. We will examine the evidence to determine if the police officer had probable cause to stop, detain, and arrest you.
  • Whether your Miranda Rights were violated. If you were not given your Miranda Rights, any incriminating statements you may have made to the police may not be used in your case.
  • The person in your car was not a minor. If all your passengers were 18 or older, you should not be charged with an enhanced DUI for having a minor passenger. There are other reasons for enhanced DUI charges, however, and we will carefully consider defenses to all criminal charges you face.

There may be additional defenses in your case. Our experienced DUI defense team will ask you many questions and examine all available evidence to ensure that every viable defense is considered.

How to Choose a Palm Beach DUI Defense Lawyer

The state has decided to pursue a criminal case against you, but your defense strategy is up to you. You have the right to choose a defense lawyer. As you decide who should represent you in a case that could change your life, we encourage you to consider:

  • Experience. Robert is one of the top DUI defense lawyers in the United States. He has helped clients facing enhanced DUI charges in the past. One of our clients was arrested for drunk driving with his daughter in the car. Our client admitted to drinking a beer and failed the officer’s field sobriety tests. However, we were able to prove that the police officer did not have the proper credentials for the search and did not complete the field sobriety tests correctly. The State dropped the DUI charges.
  • Reputation. We are proud of our reputation within the legal community and among our clients. We encourage you to read our client testimonials and reviews to learn more about us directly from the people we’ve helped.
  • Availability. We know that your freedom and future are at stake. We will never treat you like a case number. Instead, we will answer your questions promptly and keep you informed about your case.
  • Work ethic. Our Palm Beach DUI defense lawyers leave no stone unturned. We will do everything we can to build a strong legal defense in your enhanced DUI case so that you don’t face unfair or unnecessary legal consequences.