DUI FYI: What Does Child Endangerment Have To Do With a DUI?


Certain things go hand in hand together, like ice cream and apple pie. Or peanut butter and jelly. Unfortunately another common combo is Drunk Driving and Child Endangerment. Although many people may not realize it, Child Endangerment, while it is a criminal charge that pertains directly to child abuse, in some Michigan cases is also tied directly to drunk driving. How, you may wonder? Well, we’re going to break it down for you so that you’re completely “in the know” about this.


Child Endangerment, by definition, refers to any action or behavior a person engages in that places a child in imminent danger of bodily injury, mental or physical impairment, or death. It is important to remember that, with regard to this particular charge, the child in question doesn’t have to be harmed in any way for the charge to be brought. Under Michigan law, they simply have to be in danger of being harmed.


In Michigan, one instance where a charge of Child Endangerment is almost always charged, is when someone drives drunk with one or more children in their car. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous, and often results in accidents that cause severe injuries or even death. For this reason, driving under the influence of alcohol with a child under the age of 16 in the car is considered to be OWI child endangerment in Michigan.


Anyone convicted of Child Endangerment in connection with a DUI can expect some rather harsh penalties, even for a “first timer.” Under Michigan law, a first offense child endangerment charge is a misdemeanor. Anyone convicted is facing fines of up to $1,000, up to one year of jail time, and community service hours totalling up to 90 days. If the charge was related to a drunk driving incident, they might also lose their driver’s license.


DUI Child Endangerment can mean felony charges


However, the second OWI Child Endangerment charge is a felony. In this case the fines can be increased up to $5,000. But according to our state’s sentencing guidelines, the circumstances allow the presiding judge to determine where you serve this second sentence. Michigan sentencing guidelines state that you could receive either up to 60 days imprisonment with up to a year of community service, or up to one year in jail and 180 days of community service. Each case is assessed by the presiding Judge, who decides which punishment is most suitable.


It’s important to remember that criminal charges are only one side of the coin in these types of cases. If you are arrested for drunk driving, for example, the officers will often contact CPS to investigate and determine whether to pursue separate child neglect allegations against you in the family court. These abuse and neglect petitions are usually even more complex, lengthy and expensive than the criminal charges.


At The Kronzek Firm, our defense attorneys have decades of experience defending clients against drunk driving  and child neglect charges. In addition, we are highly skilled at dealing with the invasive tactics of CPS. As a team, we have been aggressively fighting against both drunk driving and child abuse allegations on behalf of our clients for decades.  


If you or a loved one have been accused of drunk driving, child endangerment, or are being investigated by either CPS or the police, contact us immediately at 1-866-766-5245. The sooner we can begin building your defense, the better your chances are of coming out ahead in this fight. Don’t wait. Call us today. Yours and your family’s freedom may depend on that call.


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