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What Are The Penalties For Operating A Vehicle Under The Influence With A Child Present (“Child Endangerment”) in Michigan? – MCL 257.625(7)

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Michigan law has little tolerance for drivers operating a motor vehicle on the road while under the influence of controlled substances and alcohol. Any conviction under these statutes can lead to substantial fines and costs, license sanctions, probation and even jail. There are even more enhanced penalties, however, if that driver is foolish enough to operate under the influence while a child is present in the vehicle. Everyone should be aware of their legal duties when they take to the open road with younger passengers.

CHILD ENDANGERMENT COMMITTED BY ADULTS

An adult is guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence with a child present (“child endangerment”) if the prosecutor can prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • First, the person is at least 21 years of age or older.
  • Second, the person committed one of the following offenses:
  1. OPERATING WHILE INTOXICATED (MCL 257.625(1)) – A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person is operating while intoxicated. “Operating while intoxicated” means any of the following: The person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance or a combination of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance OR the person has an alcohol content of at least 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath.
  2. OPERATING WHILE VISIBLY IMPAIRED (MCL 257.625(3)) – A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state when, due to the consumption of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, the person’s ability to operate the vehicle is visibly impaired.
  3. OPERATING WITH PRESENCE OF DRUG (MCL 257.625(8)) – A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person has in his or her body any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule 1 or schedule 2 of the Public Health Code.
  4. A person operated a vehicle while intoxicated (MCL 257.625(1)), operated a vehicle while visibly impaired (MCL 257.625(2)), or operated a vehicle with the presence of drugs in their body (MCL 257.625(8)) AND either caused the death or caused the serious impairment of a body function of another person contrary to MCL 257.625(4) and/or MCL 257.625(5).

The penalties for an adult operating a motor vehicle under the influence with a child present (“child endangerment”) are as follows:

  • For a first offense, the penalty is a misdemeanor conviction punishable by:
  1. A fine between $200.00 and $1,000.00
  2. Jail sentence for not less than 5 days or more than 1 year. Not less than 48 hours of this imprisonment must be served consecutively. This term of imprisonment must not be suspended.
  3. Community service for not less than 30 days or more than 90 days.
  4. Driver’s License is suspended for the first 90 days, then restricted for the following 90 days with no hardship appeal.
  5. Possible vehicle immobilization
  6. 6 points added to your Michigan driving record
  • For a second offense occurring within the last seven years OR after two or more prior offenses, the penalty is a felony conviction punishable by:
  1. A fine between $500.00 and $5,000.00.
  2. Prison sentence between 1 to 5 years OR probation with a jail sentence between 30 days and one year (48 hours must be served consecutively) and community service between 60 days and 180 days. This term of imprisonment must not be suspended.
  3. Driver’s License is revoked for at least one year.
  4. Vehicle immobilization or forfeiture.
  5. 6 points added to your Michigan driving record.

CHILD ENDANGERMENT COMMITTED BY MINORS

A minor is guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence with a child present (“child endangerment”) if the prosecutor can prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • First, the person is under 21 years of age.
  • Second, that person operated a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person has any bodily alcohol content. “Any bodily alcohol content” means an alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine OR any presence of alcohol within a person’s body resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor, other than consumption of alcoholic liquor as a part of a generally recognized religious service or ceremony. MCL 257.625(6).
  • Third, another person who is less than 16 years of age is operating the vehicle.

The penalties for a minor operating a motor vehicle under the influence with a child present (“child endangerment”) are as follows:

  • For a first offense, the penalty is a misdemeanor conviction punishable by:
  1. A fine up to $500.00.
  2. Up to 93 days in jail.
  3. Community service up to 60 days.
  4. Driver’s License is suspended for the first 90 days, then restricted for the following 90 days with no hardship appeal.
  5. Possible vehicle immobilization
  6. 6 points added to your Michigan driving record
  • For a second offense occurring within the last seven years OR after two or more prior offenses, the penalty is a misdemeanor conviction punishable by:
  1. A fine between $200.00 and $1,000.00.
  2. Jail sentence for not less than 5 days or more than 1 year. Not less than 48 hours of this imprisonment must be served consecutively. This term of imprisonment must not be suspended.
  3. Community service for not less than 30 days or more than 90 days.
  4. Driver’s License is revoked for at least one year.
  5. Vehicle immobilization or forfeiture.
  6. 6 points added to your Michigan driving record.

If an adult or a minor commits a child endangerment offense that injures or kills another person, he or she may be charged with:

  • MCL 257.625(4)(operating under the influence causing death to another person), a felony punishable by a fine between $2,500.00 and $10,000.00, or up to 15 years in prison, or both.
  • MCL 257.625(5)(operating under the influence causing serious impairment to a body function of another person), a felony punishable by a fine between $1,000.00 and $5,000.00, or up to 5 years in prison, or both.

The police, prosecutor and the judge will have little sympathy for drivers who put children at risk. When facing a child endangerment charge, it is imperative to get a criminal defense lawyer in your corner that will aggressively protect your rights. Even if the evidence against you is strong, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor that can minimize or eliminate some of the most serious consequences.

If you or a loved one are charged with child endangerment or any other criminal offense, do not hesitate to contact the experienced legal team at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC to start your best defense today.

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