It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but it is an additional crime to drive children under 16 years old while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This crime is known as Child Endangerment.
Child endangerment can result in criminal charges and the involvement of the Children’s Protective Services (CPS).
That means that if you are charged or convicted for drunk driving, or drugged driving, and you have a child under the age of 16 years at the time you were driving, you could easily find yourself with an additional criminal charge on top of a CPS case.
Being charged with child endangerment can mean being criminally charged twice: once for the child endangerment, and again for the drunk or drugged driving charge. Charges in Michigan become even more severe if there is an accident or injury as a result to the drunk or drugged driving.
Our attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm are particularly skilled at defending clients facing both CPS and police investigations. If you are being charged with child endangerment or believe that you will be charged with this crime, or with operating under the influence, call us today at 1-866-766-5245. (! 866-7NoJail)
Penalties for Child Endangerment in Michigan
In Michigan, the more times a person is convicted for child endangerment, the more severe the penalties for this crime become.
For first offenders of child endangerment, this is a misdemeanor crime with charges of a fine from $200 to $1,000 and:
1) Imprisonment from 5 days to 1 year,
2) 30 to 90 days of community service, or
3) Both imprisonment and community service.
4) First offenders may also face vehicle immobilization.
If a second offense occurs within 7 years of the first offense, or if a third offense occurs at any time, then this becomes a felony crime. Charges include a fine of $500 and $5,000 and:
1) Imprisonment from 1 year to 5 years, or
2) Jail time of 30 days to one year, probation, and 60 to 180 days of community service.
3) Mandatory vehicle immobilization.
An individual under 21 years old doesn’t need to actually be intoxicated to be charged with this crime. If under 21 years old, the individual only needs to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 to be charged with child endangerment.
There does not need to be proof that this individual’s driving was impaired at all. (That’s part of the zero tolerance policy.) The penalties are more severe if the individual is under 21 years old and is intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 or more.
The Kronzek Firm Approach to Defending Child Endangerment Charges
Get help right away. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Time is not your friend. Parents and non-parent adults often believe that simply cooperating with the appropriate authorities – CPS investigators or police – will help them avoid punishment. Unfortunately, CPS workers aren’t in the business of keeping families together. As soon as you know or suspect that you might be investigated for Child Endangerment, you should contact a qualified CPS defense attorney.
This will be the best move in protecting your family. Don’t talk to police or a CPS investigator until you have involved your lawyer. If police or CPS are investigating you, this is very serious. You should not risk potentially incriminating yourself, because anything you say to them can later be used against you. It’s in your best interest to involve an attorney straight away.
Our highly respected attorneys can help you through the process of an investigation. We will work not just for you, but with you, listening to you at every step on the way. We will do all that we can to defend you and to make the best of the situation. Our attorneys are often called The Best of the Best.
When Child Protective Services Gets Involved
Child Protective Services (CPS) may become involved with your child endangerment case. CPS can start an investigation on you and your family if it is alleged that (1) you drove your children and/or other children in the car while drunk, or (2) you allowed your child to ride with a person that that you knew or should have known was drunk (this is known as failure to protect).
Michigan law requires that law enforcement work with CPS on certain cases. Many times, this means that law enforcement will advise CPS that there is a case involving parents and child endangerment. At this point, CPS will likely open up an investigation. They move very quickly often showing up on your doorstep after hours on the weekend.
Whether you are being investigated by law enforcement or CPS, it is vital that you use extreme caution when talking to these state officials. Anything you say might be used against you later. Our defense lawyers hear stories every day from our clients all over Michigan. They tell us that their words were twisted up and reported inaccurately. Speak to an experienced lawyer, and let us put ourselves between you and the government.
The Kronzek Firm attorneys are available by phone 24/7. We practice throughout Michigan, including Grand Rapids, Oakland County, Tuscola, Macomb, Farmington, Lansing, Allegan and Ionia. Call us today at 1-866-766-5245 to talk to an experienced attorney.