A hand holding a drink next to car keys

DUI with a Child in the Car

Guilfoil Law Group April 17, 2022

In Missouri, driving while in an intoxicated condition is a serious offense. A defendant convicted of DWI may face severe punishment, including massive fines, jail time, license suspension or revocation, and other devastating, life-changing consequences. However, your penalties will be even harsher if you were driving intoxicated with a minor as a passenger in the vehicle. A highly-skilled Missouri criminal defense attorney can enlighten you about the possible consequences of a DUI with a child conviction and determine whether the Department of Social Services will get involved.

At the Guilfoil Law Group, I have been offering comprehensive legal guidance and reliable representation to clients in their drunk driving cases. As your legal counsel, I will investigate all of the surrounding facts of your case thoroughly, help you understand the consequences of the DSS involvement, and outline an effective defense to fight your charges. My firm proudly serves clients across Kansas City, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, and anywhere in Missouri.

Will the Department of Social Services Get Involved if I Get A DUI with a Child in the Car?

In Missouri, it is a crime to drive a vehicle while in an intoxicated condition or with a BAC of at least 0.08%. However, the penalties often vary depending on the surrounding circumstances. Also, if you are arrested for a DWI with a child passenger, the arresting officer will most likely reach out to the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Unfortunately, the involvement of the Missouri Department of Social Services could possibly lead to the loss of child custody rights or parenting privileges. In such a child endangerment situation, the DSS will conduct a thorough investigation. If the investigator believes that the child could be in possible danger, the DSS might remove your child from your home or care.

Definition of “Child Endangerment”
Under Missouri Law

Under Missouri law, child endangerment involves knowingly encouraging a child – less than 17 years of age – to engage in an act or conduct which endangers their life or health. According to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 568.045, a person commits the offense of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree if they:

  • Knowingly acts in a manner that creates a substantial risk to the life, body, or health of a child less than 17 years of age.

  • Knowingly engages in sexual conduct with a person below 17 years over whom the person is a parent, guardian, or otherwise charged with the care and custody.

  • Knowingly encourages, aids, or causes a child less than 17 years of age to engage in an offense involving a controlled substance – drug possession, delivery, distribution, trafficking, or manufacturing.

  • Unlawfully manufactures compounds, possesses, produces, prepares, sells, transports, tests, or analyzes amphetamine or methamphetamine in the presence of a child below 17 years.

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested and charged with drunk driving and child endangerment, you need to reach out to an experienced Missouri DWI defense attorney straight away. Your attorney can enlighten you about the possible penalties and consequences and help build your defense.

Possible Consequences

In Missouri, DUI with child passenger charges often carry devastating and possibly life-altering ramifications. Depending on the seriousness and severity of the offense, a DUI and child endangerment conviction could potentially result in any of the following penalties and consequences:

  • Prison sentences (ranging from months, years, or decades)

  • Massive fines

  • A criminal record

  • Probation

  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation

  • Increased difficulty in getting employment and accommodation

  • Increased difficulty in getting government assistance or public benefits

  • Increased auto insurance rates

  • Increased difficulty to travel to other countries

  • Ineligibility for certain financial loans

  • Deterioration of professional relationships

  • Loss of rights to vote during elections

  • Loss of parenting privileges, child custody rights, and parenting time

A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can identify potential defenses to your DWI charges, craft a strong defense strategy to help fight your allegations, and help you avoid the far-reaching consequences of a criminal conviction.

Strong Legal Advocacy

Trying to defend your drunk driving and child endangerment allegations without experienced representation could possibly increase your risks of getting convicted and receiving the maximum penalties. Due to the nature of the offense, the DSS may get involved, and your child may be taken away from your home. In the face of it all, it is natural to feel terrified and overwhelmed. Therefore, you need to retain a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for proper guidance and strategize your defense.

At Guilfoil Law Group, I have the diligence, experience, and resources to defend and represent clients in complex DUI cases involving child endangerment. As your legal counsel, I can review and investigate every last detail of your case thoroughly and outline a strong defense strategy to achieve the best available outcome for your unique circumstances. Using my in-depth legal knowledge, I will help you navigate the Missouri criminal justice system. Also, I will fight vigorously to protect your legal rights, and custody rights and dispute the allegations against you with factual evidence.

Facing driving while intoxicated and child endangerment charges can be scary. That is why you should never face them alone. Contact my firm – Guilfoil Law Group – today to schedule a simple case assessment with a skilled DUI/DWI defense attorney. I have the detailed legal counsel, vigorous representation, and reliable advocacy you need in your case. My firm is proud to represent clients across Kansas City, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, and other areas throughout Missouri.