In Michigan, a person can be charged with Child Endangerment if they are arrested for a drinking and driving offense while there is a child in the vehicle under the age of 16 years old.
In order to prove an operating while intoxicated offense, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of both; or that the defendant had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.
Similarly, in order to prove an operating while under the influence offense, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant operated a vehicle while his or her ability to operate the vehicle was visibly impaired by alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of both. The prosecutor can use testimony by someone who observed the impaired driving as proof.
Michigan law also prohibits operating a vehicle on a road or other place open to the general public with any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance in the body. Schedule 1 controlled substances include cocaine, heroin, and many other illegal substances.
If a defendant is found guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, impaired, or on any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance, he or she can also be found guilty of child endangerment if a passenger in the vehicle is under the age of 16. While a first offense for child endangerment is a misdemeanor, a repeat offense may be a felony offense with a more serious penalty.
Child Endangerment Misdemeanor
A Child endangerment violation for driving under the influence with a passenger under the age of 16 is a misdemeanor for either a first offense or a second offense where the first offense occurred at least 7 years prior.
A child endangerment misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of between $200 and $1,000 plus 30 to 90 days community service and/or between 5 days and 1 year of jail.
A misdemeanor conviction will result in a 90 day driver license suspension followed by a 90 day driver license restriction
Child Endangerment Felony
Child endangerment is a felony offense when it is the second offense within 7 years or when the defendant has 2 or more prior child endangerment offenses.
Punishment under the felony is a fine of between $500 and $5000 and either 30 days to 1 year imprisonment in the county jail along with probation or a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years.
A felony conviction will result in revoked driver license, meaning that driving privileges will not be granted until a minimum of 1 year has passed and the driver assessment and appeal division is petitioned.
Find a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with operating while intoxicated, child endangerment, or another crime, contact Aaron J. Boria, PLLC. Aaron Boria is a criminal defense attorney in Southeast Michigan that will fight for your rights. Call today for a free consultation (734) 453-7806