Driving Under the Influence and Child Abuse

For most people, facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a scary experience that brings severe consequences. Not only does it pose the risk of losing one’s license, additional license restrictions, mandatory substance abuse classes, and hefty fines, but it can also result in severe physical injury for anyone involved in a collision as a result of driving under the influence. One unintended consequence of driving under the influence that can make the charge even more difficult to handle are the accompanying child abuse charges that can be filed when a person is arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence with a child in the car. If you are facing these types of charges, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has a practice focused on advocating for clients facing similar charges.

Understanding the Relationship Between Charges

Some people do not realize the potential of facing child abuse charges if you are arrested for driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle. However, with the potential for drunk driving to injure adults, it should come as no surprise that Colorado law enforcement officials take the safety of children just as seriously. As such, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or the slightly lesser charge of driving while ability impaired with a child in the vehicle can result in a charge of criminally negligent child abuse under Colorado Revised Statute §18-6-401. Under this law, a person that engages in criminal negligence and because of that behavior places a child under threat of injury or death can be convicted of a misdemeanor charge of child abuse. As drunk driving charges qualify as criminally negligent behavior, the law allows prosecutors to include child abuse charges when drunk driving involves a child. Even more serious, if a child is injured as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or driving while ability is impaired by either substance, then the driver may face felony child abuse charges.

To help people avoid these types of combined charges, the Colorado Department of Transportation has been working with law enforcement agencies across the state to help drivers understand that even one drink can impair your ability to drive. With the dangerous road conditions that come with Colorado winters, adding alcohol or drugs can make driving even more hazardous. When children are involved, the state wants drivers to know that charges can and will be more serious.

Facing Charges

Facing these types of charges can be daunting for any individual. However, you do not have to face them alone. An experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney like Jay Tiftickjian, who has written books on defending people facing DUI charges in Colorado, can work with you throughout the legal process to make sure that your rights are protected. If you are facing charges related to driving under the influence, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about the charges you are facing as well as what options might be available to you in your defense.

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(image courtesy of Jenn Richardson)