On Monday, August 18, a 32-year-old woman whose name has not yet been released was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated with her four children in the car with her, according to news reports at Fox 17 and Mlive.com. This is the woman’s second drunk driving offense; she was convicted of DUI in 2002.
According to Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat, the woman’s name could not be released until a warrant is signed and she is arraigned on the charges. Maat also said that the incident occurred just before 2 a.m. on Monday when the woman was pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving in the area of Getty Street and Ada Avenue. The woman’s blood alcohol level was not revealed in news reports.
The woman was charged with one count of drunk driving with an occupant under 16 years of age (child endangerment), and was lodged in the Muskegon County Jail as of last reports. In addition, the children were put in the care of their grandmother while Child Protective Services investigates the matter.
In the state of Michigan, anyone who operates a motor vehicle in an impaired or intoxicated state while having a passenger or passengers in the car younger than 16 may face child endangerment charges. Not only may the defendant be labeled for a lifetime when found guilty of child endangerment, the criminal penalties even for a first offense are severe. If convicted, the woman in this case could face up to one year in jail, fines of up to $1,000 plus court costs, possible vehicle immobilization, a driver’s license suspension for 90 days followed by 90 days of restricted driving.
Michigan DUI attorneys know the seriousness of being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, regardless of whether minor children are passengers in the vehicle. While an adult should never drive while under the influence to begin with, he/she should certainly not put the lives of children in danger. However, people do make mistakes every day, and may have a lapse in judgment. Thankfully, the children are safe and no one was injured in this situation.
Regardless of whether you are arrested for the first time for DUI, or have been convicted in the past for operating while under the influence, it is critical that you obtain the support and guidance of a capable and aggressive Michigan DUI defense lawyer. There are many legal options available to those who are charged with a drunk driving offense, and you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A qualified attorney will work vigorously to protect your freedom, reputation, and legal rights.