What could happen to me if I am arrested for DWI with a minor child in my vehicle?

Young Child in the Back Seat of a Car After the Driver Has Been Arrested for DWIDWI is punished harshly in North Carolina and can have long-term consequences in your life. However, your sentence can be even more severe if you are arrested for DWI with a child present in your motor vehicle.

Enhanced Penalties You May Face for DWI With a Child Present in Your Vehicle

In 2011, “Laura’s Law” was signed into law. It was named after Laura Fortenberry, a 17-year-old teen killed in 2010 in an accident with a drunk driver who had been convicted of DWI three times in the past. Under this law, there are increased fines and penalties for subsequent DWI convictions and more severe penalties when a child is in the vehicle of a person arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Driving while intoxicated with a child present is considered a grossly aggravating factor that will automatically result in the second harshest level of punishment, which is a Level One punishment. Three types of passengers can result in these enhanced penalties:

  • Child under 18 years old
  • Individual with the mental capacity of a child under 18 years old
  • Individual with a physical disability that would prevent him from leaving the vehicle at the time the driver was intoxicated

If convicted of DWI, a person can face these Level One punishments:

  • A minimum jail sentence of 30 days up to a maximum of two years
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • Driver’s license suspension of one year with no possibility of restricted driving privileges

What Should You Do If You Are Arrested for DWI With a Child Present?

If you have been charged with DWI and had a child under 18 years old present in your car, one of your first steps should be to retain an experienced DWI attorney in Charlotte immediately. A skilled lawyer can help you mount a strong defense—even if you are guilty—that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense with less severe penalties. To learn about our extensive experience in these cases and how we can assist you, call our Charlotte office to schedule your appointment today.

 

Our Approach To DWI Cases

WE WILL GET YOU DRIVING AGAIN
Simply being charged with DWI in North Carolina often results in your driver’s license being revoked for a minimum of 30 days. However, we can typically get your driving privileges reinstated almost immediately. We do this by either, first, challenging this civil license revocation, or second, getting you a limited driving privilege.
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WE WILL GATHER EVIDENCE
Whether you realize it or not, a considerable amount of evidence exists regarding your DWI charge, much of which is vital to an effective defense of your case. We will review your court file, subpoena necessary documents, videos, and notes, and file the appropriate pretrial motions in a timely manner.
Defend My Case
WE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU IN COURT
As former prosecutors, we are aware of all the potential defenses that may be available to you. We do not automatically assume you intend to plead guilty and face the harsh consequences associated with a DWI conviction. We pledge we will examine every possible defense and take your case to trial if it is in your best interest.
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WE WILL MITIGATE CONSEQUENCES
While it’s our goal to win every DWI case we have, it’s simply not possible for any attorney to win every time. If you are ultimately convicted of DWI, we will help you take every step possible to reduce the potential penalties, such as avoiding jail time, keeping you driving, reducing monetary costs, and more.
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