Charleston, SC police report that a woman was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while driving with her 11-year-old daughter in the car. She was charged with DUI and child endangerment after reporting to the police that she had consumed several beers earlier in the day.
A DUI charge in South Carolina can initiate a hefty fine or even imprisonment. Under S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-2930:
(A) “It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, under the influence of any other drug or a combination of other drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug or drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and, upon conviction; entry of a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere, or forfeiture of bail must be punished as follows:
(1) for a first offense, by a fine of four hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours nor more than thirty days. However, in lieu of the forty-eight hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for forty-eight hours of public service employment.
(2) For a second offense, by a fine of not less than two thousand one hundred dollars nor more than five thousand one hundred dollars, and imprisonment for not less than five days nor more than one year.
(3) For a third offense, by a fine of not less than three thousand eight hundred dollars nor more than six thousand three hundred dollars, and imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than three years.
However, if you add Child Endangerment to the DUI charges, the fines and potential imprisonment terms increase. A person who is over 18 years of age and operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with one or more passengers under the age of 16 in the car when the violation occurs will be guilty of child endangerment. Further, a person who is convicted of a DUI can also be convicted of child endangerment. The sentence for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child under the age of 16 in the car is as follows:
(A) a fine of not more than one-half of the maximum fine allowed for committing the violation enumerated in subsection (A)(1), when the person is fined for that offense;
(B) a term of imprisonment of not more than one-half of the maximum term of imprisonment allowed for committing the violation enumerated in subsection (A)(1), when the person is imprisoned for the offense; or
(C) both a fine and imprisonment as prescribed in items (1) and (2) when the person is fined and imprisoned for the offense.
S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-2930
Therefore, when a person is driving under the influence, their charges can increase exponentially if there is a child in the vehicle. This creates an aggravating factor to the charge of DUI. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, Felony DUI or another alcohol related offense, make sure to call people who can help you. The law offices of Robert J. Reeves P.C. have experience in handling alcohol related offenses. You can reach our Charleston, SC office at 843-901-0380.