CA Vehicle Code 23572 VC
VC 23572 – DUI With a Minor Onboard
California DUI – Table of Contents
In California, “Driving under Influence” is a serious offense.
It’s made worse if a minor is accompanying you. You can get charged with DUI and child endangerment, both resulting in jail time and heavy fines.
In fact, even first-time offenses come with hefty consequences.
Below, we’ll discuss the punishments for DUIs with a minor, and the best course of action if you’re convicted.
First, a minor is anyone under the age of 18. But if you’re charged while having a child under 14 years, then you do run risk of greater sentences.
Offenders receive mandatory jail time based on their offense count, which is as follows:
- First-time (48 hours)
- Second-time (10 days)
- Third-time (30 days)
- Fourth-time (90 days)
All offenses are served in county jail.
Also, all the offense counts are counted as misdemeanors. However, the fourth offense is considered a wobbler offense, and maybe charged as a felony.
In that case, it comes with a risk of prolonged jail time and extra fines.
Do note that the previous are “additional sentences.” That is, you serve the original DUI sentence. Then, you serve the previous DUI penalties for having a minor passenger.
Lastly, your offense count is calculated across a ten-year period. So being a second-time offender means having two DUI offenses in a ten-year span, and so on.
What Can Get You Convicted?
Vehicle Code 23572 is what governs how DUI cases are handled.
If you’re charged with a misdemeanor while having a minor in car, then your sentence will get enhanced.
VC 23572 doesn’t look at your intentions, how intoxicated you were, and how responsibly you were driving. Instead, it looks at whether:
- A minor was seated in the car at that time
- You were intoxicated while driving
Those are the only factors that prosecutors look at when examining your case. If evidence persists, you may be convicted.
Child Endangerment Charges
This is governed by Penal Code 273(a).
Child endangerment is a separate conviction from DUIs. It looks at whether a defendant willfully put a minor in a situation that would harm their welfare. Here, driving under influence falls under that definition.
In that case, you may receive one of three charges:
- Sentencing enhancement of VC 23572
- Child endangerment crime
- Two charges – one for a sentence enhanced DUI with a minor, and one for child endangerment
Do note that courts aren’t allowed to convict you of “regular” DUI with minors and child endangerment at the same time.
Only sentence-enhanced DUIs can be combined with child endangerment.
Another thing to note is the minor’s age. For child endangerment, any person younger as 18 counts as a minor passenger.
Are Combined DUI and Child Endangerment Charges Common?
No, they’re actually rare. So it’s not something most defendants should be worried about.
Most prosecutors set aside child endangerment charges for very serious DUI situations, so it isn’t likely to apply for first-time offenders.
When judging if a defendant should receive a combined charge, prosecutors may look at the following factors:
- Blood alcohol levels
- Offense count
- Driving pattern (is the car being driven erratically or normally)
- Level of responsibility while driving (wearing a seat belt, proper car light use, etc.)
Punishments for child endangerment are serious. They’re counted as a wobbler offenses, where they’re either treated as misdemeanors or as felonies.
If counted as a misdemeanor, you risk up to 364 days in county jail. If counted as a felony, you risk up to 6 years.
Let’s go back to sentence enhancement charges.
You only get a sentence enhancement (from a regular DUI charge) based on recorded blood alcohol levels.
According to VC 23152(b), if it’s above 0.08, you can get charged with a sentence enhancement. If the test has lower results, the court cannot impose a penalty on you.
Otherwise, your best bet is to fight off the initial DUI charge, which can include one of the following defenses:
- You can argue that your bad driving wasn’t influenced by alcohol. The testaments for that come from arresting officers who were on-site with you. Here, you can claim that your driving pattern did not match those under influence. However, this defense may fall short in light of blood alcohol records. In that case…
- You can argue that the Field Sobriety Tests didn’t accurately represent your level of impairment, where many personal factors do bias FST results. They include fatigue, clothing worn, nervous condition, and physical coordination.
- Something else to argue is residual alcohol. Before being given a blood alcohol test, an officer needs to supervise you for 15 minutes. They’ll need to ensure that you’re not consuming anything with alcohol as an ingredient during that time. They should also ensure that you don’t regurgitate, burp, or vomit during that time, as that may bias results. The latter situation can be used for defense, claiming that excess alcohol was registered during the breathing test which doesn’t reflect your blood alcohol levels. You can also claim that the officer didn’t properly supervise you for the 15 minute timeframe.
- You can claim rising blood alcohol as a defense. After all, drinking after driving isn’t illegal. It’s only drinking while being intoxicated that’s illegal. Normally, it takes anywhere from 50 minutes to 3 hours for blood alcohol levels to peak. If you were tested too late during the investigation, then you might receive a result that inaccurately represents your blood alcohol while driving.
- You can claim that test results were inflated from dietary changes (or medical conditions). Those may include diabetes and hypoglycemia. They also include high protein diets (or ones with low carbs, such as Atkins, Keto, and Paleo). The ketones released in those diets are similar in structure to ethyl alcohol, which may show up as a high BAC.
Only the best lawyers can argue those details in court, and to full-effect, and that’s what our law firm offers.
If you need a lawyer for a DUI case, simply contact us. We’ll guide to the best defense for your situation!
If you have been accused or charged with a DUI with a child passenger, you need an experienced DUI defense attorney who will fight for you. We invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online, and we will get in contact with you ASAP. Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely. Contact us today and let’s get started!
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