drinking and driving with child in the car, endangering child

Driving Under the Influence with a Child in the Car: What Are the Penalties?

Driving after consuming alcohol or using another impairing substance can be a serious offense. Indeed, even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is not at or above the legal limit of .08 percent, if you are impaired to the extent that your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is affected, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

A DUI charge is, in itself, very serious. However, certain actions can make a DUI offense–and the related penalties–even more severe. One of those offenses is committing a DUI with a child in the car. If you have been charged with driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, here’s what you need to know about the charge and related penalties.

Defining the Crime of Driving Under the Influence with a Child in the Car

Not only is DUI a crime in Colorado, but doing so with a child in the car constitutes child abuse, per Colorado Revised Statute Section 18-6-401, which reads that a person commits abuse of a child when they:

  • Cause an injury to a child’s life or health; or
  • Permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s health.

This means that if you are stopped for DUI with a child in your vehicle, not only will you face DUI charges, but you could very well be charged with child abuse as well. As a note, a child is defined as a minor under the age of 16.

Potential Penalties for Driving Under the Influence with a Child in the Car

First, a review of the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, in Colorado:

  • A first-offense conviction could result in jail time of between five days and one year, a fine of between $600 and $1,000, a license revocation period of up to nine months, and the installation of an interlock ignition device for up to eight months.
  • A second- or third-offense conviction for a DUI offense is even more serious. A second- or third- offense could result in jail time of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,500, an indefinite license revocation period, and the installation of an interlock ignition device of up to five years.

In addition to DUI penalties, you’ll also have to deal with penalties for child abuse should you be convicted of that charge.

If the child is not injured as a result of the DUI (i.e., the DUI offense does not result in a car accident and bodily injury to the child), then the offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and an incarceration period of up to one year.

If the child is injured a result of the DUI, the crime is considered a felony offense. If acting with criminal negligence, the crime is a Class 4 felony; when acting knowingly and recklessly, the offense is a Class 3 felony. This could mean up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.

The most serious offense is one in which driving under the influence results in the death of a child. Death caused by criminal negligence is a Class 3 felony; death caused as a result of reckless conduct is a Class 2 felony. A Class 2 felony is penalized by prison time of up to 24 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged for DUI with a minor in the car, you could be looking at jail time, large fines, and a mark against you on your criminal record, which could limit your opportunities moving forward. What’s more, you could also face the loss of custody of or visitation time with your child. When so much is on the line, the wisest thing that you can do is to retain the counsel of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer with experience representing clients in cases like these.

At the offices of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law, we are passionate about providing skilled, aggressive defense for our clients. If you are facing DUI or child abuse charges, don’t hesitate to call our law office for an initial free consultation and information about your defense options. Reach us today at 719-473-9099, visit our Colorado Springs office in person, or send us a confidential message using the intake form on our website.

does violent crime increase in summer

Does Violent Crime Increase During the Summer?

You may have heard that violent crime spikes during the summer months but dismissed it as an unproven myth. However, the issue was important enough for the Bureau of Justice Statistics to conduct a research study in 2014 entitled Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends. To no one’s great surprise, the report indicated an increase in several types of crimes when the weather was at its warmest. The main categories indicated by the report include property crimes and violent victimization.

Which Types of Violent Crime Peak During the Summer?

The Bureau of Justice Statistics included the following types of violent crimes among those that occur more often during the summer:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Robbery
  • Simple assault
  • Victimization involving a weapon
  • Violence resulting in injury

As this report proves, an increase in violent crime during the summer is a real phenomenon. It can be as much as 12 percent higher than the other three seasons. We will explore some of the possible reasons for this below.

Higher Temperatures Mean More Opportunities for Crime

The higher the temperature climbs, the more likely people are to open their windows to let in some cool air. Not everyone can afford air conditioning or likes the way that it feels. However, open windows and even doors increase a person’s vulnerability to crime. People also spend more time outside and away from home. If they leave their doors unlocked or tell a lot of people about their plans, anyone left at home could become the victim of a violent crime.

The sun can rise as early as 5:30 a.m. in Colorado Springs during the summer and not set until nearly 9:00 in the evening. Having more than 15 hours of available daylight means that more people are outdoors or traveling and not at home. In an area known for year-round tourists like Colorado Springs, the higher number of people outdoors in the summer increases the likelihood of a violent crime taking place.

Another factor contributing to summer crime rates is that students are not in school for the summer and may find destructive things to do with their free time. Others feel that high temperatures alone can make people feel uncomfortable and aggressive.

Excessive Temperatures Drive People Indoors

Despite all of the above factors, even people intent on committing a crime know when to go inside. An article published by Medical Daily indicates that criminal activity drops off once the outside temperature consistently reaches 90 degrees. It seems that it’s too uncomfortable for anyone to be outside so people retreat to air-conditioned comfort if they can.

Possible Solutions to Summer Crime Spikes

Colorado Springs isn’t the only community in the United States that struggles with this issue. The larger the city, the more it deals with an uptick in violent crime during hot weather. Several communities have discovered that offering more activities to keep youth busy can help to thwart this problem.

Cities have also begun looking at whether those who with a previous conviction for a violent crime receive close enough supervision, whether on probation or not. Making cooling more affordable for everyone by offering energy assistance grants is yet another solution that the governments of large cities have considered to reduce this troubling trend.

Have You Been Charged with a Violent Crime in Colorado?

It’s somewhat of a catch-22 situation. Police officers expect violent crime rates to go up in the summer, so they become extra vigilant in looking for it. Unfortunately, that means they could arrest a person who was simply defending himself or herself, was set-up as the fall guy by another party, or who has another legitimate defense against a violent crime charge. Perhaps this has even happened to you and you’re not sure where to turn.

The criminal defense attorneys at Anderson & Carnahan, Attorneys at Law, have more than five decades of aggressively defending people charged with violent crime in Colorado Springs and the surrounding communities. We are happy to offer you a free consultation to learn more about the charges against you and let you know how we can help. Please contact us at 719-473-9099 to schedule your complimentary consultation today. The longer you wait, the more time the prosecution has to build a case against you.