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Do drunk-driving parents get harsher penalties?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Drunk Driving, DWI Defense |

When a person drives drunk, they endanger themselves, other motorists and pedestrians through reckless behavior. Drunk drivers also jeopardize their passengers, even if the other riders haven’t had anything to drink. Adult passengers may be able to survive some collisions if involved in a driving while intoxicated (DWI) collision. On the other hand, children are more at risk if they’re passengers in such accidents.

This is why driving drunk with children is a crime with stiffer penalties than usual in New Jersey if an officer pulls you over. What can you expect from such a conviction?

Additional penalties

On top of any penalties a driver may face for being convicted of DWI, they will also receive a disorderly persons offense if they had a passenger in their vehicle who is 17 years of age or younger. The offense is not a crime by New Jersey’s definition nor can it impart any legal disadvantages to the convicted, but an individual charged with a disorderly persons offense may be asked to serve a prison sentence between 30 days and a whole year.

The convicted driver also forfeits their right to operate a motor vehicle for up to six months and must contribute to community service for up to five days.

Note that these penalties are in addition to the punishments that go with DWI convictions. Drivers charged with their first DWI can face a 30-day prison sentence, a fine of up to $400 and a requirement to attend an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for up to two straight days. They also face forfeiture of their licenses unless they agree to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for three months.

DWI convictions already come with severe penalties – additional charges for driving drunk with a minor passenger make for a harsher experience. Drivers who face such convictions should consider getting the services of a legal professional. Having an attorney that can assess all facets of the case, down to how the arrest happened, will be useful when defending your case in court.