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DUI and child abuse are sometimes linked together

Many people who drink and drive do so without much thought. That lack of thought, however, might end up landing some people in the criminal justice system. That is because parents and adults might end up facing child abuse charges if they have children in the vehicle while they are driving while intoxicated.

The Arizona Daily Star did a study of 157 defendants who were charged with at least one felony count of child abuse. Of those, nearly 44 percent faced a child abuse charge for having a child in the vehicle with a drugged or drunk driver. While the harm done to those children wasn't direct, it still put the child in danger.

Generally, the parents who drive while intoxicated with a child in the car don't face investigation for child abuse. Instead, they are likely to be investigated only for the DUI, especially if the child's other parent is available to care for the child. It is also important to note that many parents won't be stopped while drinking and driving because they are able to reach their destination.

Interestingly, the program director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving notes that the average person arrested for DUI will drive while impaired an average of 87 times prior to being arrested on a first offense. For parents who are caught with a child in the car on a first-time DUI, they will likely face a class 5 felony of child abuse.

For the parents who are caught for DUI with a child in the vehicle, a strong defense is vital. It is important to consider a defense that is applicable to the child abuse charge and the DUI charge since they will likely be compiled into one case.

Source: Arizona Daily Sun, "Child abuse tied to DUIs," Yoohyun Jung and Patty Machelor, Arizona Daily Star, July 19, 2015

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