California laws are strict on those convicted of Driving under the Influence of alcohol or drugs. The impairment the drivers suffer is seen as such a danger to others in the eyes of the law, that enforcement and sentencing of these regulations seems to get harsher each year. The law is constantly looking for ways to enhance these types of charges to ensure maximum punishment for its violators, and already has a few in place. For instance, if a person gets a DUI with a passenger who is less than 14 years of age, the driver will automatically be faced with a sentence enhancement. Depending on the number of DUIs in the person’s past, the enhancement can be extremely detrimental. Even so, many groups are pushing for tougher penalties, including attempting to make all DUI charges felonies, rather than misdemeanors. This movement is being pushed across the country and seems to be picking up steam. Currently, when charged with a DUI while a child of any age is a passenger in that vehicle, a prosecutor will use discretion in adding child endangerment to the charges. Child endangerment can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, and is what criminal attorneys call a “wobbler.” As it stands, there are ways for attorneys to negotiate and argue a DUI down to a misdemeanor or even get it reduced further on some other condition. However, as children passengers are involved in highly publicized DUI convictions, the state may feel pressure to take a more aggressive approach to curb the behavior. In such a case, DUI penalties could see a drastically harsh rise.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, or their professional license is at risk, contact Attorney Miranda McCroskey for an immediate consultation at (714) 389-2257 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miranda is a partner at Wilson Harvey Browndorf in Irvine, heading the criminal defense department.