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DUI With Child in the Car Tennessee

Moreland Law Firm Oct. 17, 2023

Every parent wants to keep their child safe, but what happens when a lapse in judgment leads to a DUI with a child in the car? The consequences can be severe, extending far beyond the criminal charges associated with driving under the influence. In Tennessee, such an incident may lead to the involvement of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or Child Protective Services (CPS). We're here to shed light on this serious issue and guide those who might find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances. 

If you need legal representation, contact our criminal defense attorney at Moreland Law Firm. Our Franklin office serves clients across Nashville, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas of Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Columbia, and Dickson.  

Will DCS Get Involved if I Get A DUI With My Child in the Car?

The short answer is yes. If you're arrested for a DUI with a child in the car in Tennessee, it's almost certain that DCS or CPS will get involved. In the eyes of the state, driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle equates to child endangerment, a serious offense. This results in a DCFCPS investigation, where the safety and well-being of the child involved will be assessed. 

Remember, every DUI case is unique, and it's crucial to consider the circumstances surrounding the arrest and any prior criminal charges when building a defense strategy. Our trial-tested attorney at Moreland Law Firm can help you understand your options and build your best defense.  

Child Endangerment in Tennessee

In Tennessee, child endangerment is a serious offense that is taken very seriously by the legal system. According to Tennessee law, child endangerment is knowingly abusing, neglecting, or endangering the life or health of a child under the age of eighteen. 

This goes beyond physical harm. It includes cases where a child's health or welfare has been negatively affected because they weren't cared for properly. This could mean not providing enough food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or even emotional support.  

Also, it applies to situations where children under the age of 18 were present in the vehicle during a DUI stop.  

If someone is found guilty of child endangerment in Tennessee, they could face severe consequences as it's considered a felony. This emphasizes the state's commitment to protecting children and ensuring their safety and well-being. 

Is your future at risk due to a child endangerment charge? At Moreland Law Firm, we understand the gravity of your situation and are here to help.  

Consequences of Getting a DUI With a Child in the Car

Tennessee takes DUI cases extremely seriously—and for a good reason. From September 2022 to September 2023, 1 in 3 fatal traffic crashes in the state involved DUI. When a minor is in the car, the penalties escalate. They include not only criminal charges but significant fines and potential jail time, all of which can have lasting impacts on your life. The following gets deeper into the specifics: 

  • Mandatory Minimum Sentencing: If you're convicted of a DUI in Tennessee with a minor in the car, you face a mandatory minimum additional jail sentence of 30 days and a minimum fine of $1,000. This is over and above any penalties associated with the DUI itself. 

  • Class D Felony Charges: Instances where a minor was present in the vehicle during a DUI arrest and suffered serious bodily injury are even more grave. These cases result in a conviction of a Class D felony. The penalties for this class of felony in Tennessee include a minimum of two years to a maximum of 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. 

  • Class C Felony Charges: Should the unthinkable occur, and a minor present in your vehicle during a DUI violation dies, your record will reflect a Class C felony conviction. In Tennessee, a Class C felony carries a minimum prison sentence of three years, a maximum sentence of 15 years, and a maximum fine of $10,000. Furthermore, your license may be permanently revoked. 

  • Impact on Custody and Visitation: Your custody and visitation rights can be significantly affected as well. The court may deem you unfit to care for the child, resulting in modified custody arrangements and strained relationships with your family members. 

These penalties underscore the seriousness of DUI/Child Endangerment charges in Tennessee. Can you afford to navigate these legal waters alone? Do you want to risk your freedom, your finances, and your future? 

Don't let a mistake define your life. At Moreland Law Firm, we believe that everyone deserves a strong defense. We’re dedicated to providing assertive, persuasive, and professional representation for our clients across Nashville, Tennessee. Our attorney will fight tirelessly on your behalf, working to mitigate the penalties and protect your rights. 

Get the Support of a Skilled Attorney

The consequences of a DUI with a child in the car can alter the course of your life. These cases require immediate action and tenacious legal guidance. Don't face these charges alone. Contact Moreland Law Firm, where our experienced criminal defense attorney will fight for your rights, provide expert representation, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. 

Let our Nashville defense attorney help protect your future and the well-being of your child. Reach out today to schedule a free case consultation.