Like most states, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) are enhanced when the impaired or intoxicated driver had a child in the vehicle at the time of the impaired driving, and Florida is no exception.
There are many ways that parents and caregivers are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with children in their vehicles. A father can drink at a family dinner and hop in the car with his kids to drive home. A mother with older children can have a few glasses of wine after work and then go pick up her teenage daughter in an emergency, ignoring the fact that she had been drinking.
Another example is a father who took his wife and kids to a friend’s house for the day. As the kids played hard, the parents drank hard. And after drinking all day long, he and his wife put the kids and headed home, but the dad was pulled over for drunk driving before he made it back to his house.
A First DUI With Kids
Generally, a first Florida DUI is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, up to six months in jail, and up to a one-year license revocation if the blood alcohol level (BAL) was below .15%. However, under Section 316.193(4) of the Florida Statutes, if the defendant had a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the penalties are elevated to:
- A fine up to $2,000
- Up to 9 months in jail
A lot of my clients ask me if they are eligible for the Back on Track Program if it was their first DUI offense, but they had a child in the vehicle. Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” If a DUI defendant did have a minor in their vehicle at the time of the incident, they would not qualify for DUI diversion and could not participate in the Back on Track Program.
If you’re facing DUI charges of any kind in Miami, I urge you to contact my firm to set up a consultation and explore your legal defenses.