Driving while intoxicated laws are some of the strictest in the state with severe penalties if convicted for OUI / DUI. Lawmakers frequently examine the Massachusetts OUI laws to find ways of reinforcing them. One method enacted is child endangerment OUI.
Driving under the influence with child endangerment means a driver has been charged with 2 distinct offenses:
(1) an OUI / DUI offense
(2) an OUI / DUI with Child Endangerment offense.
OUI and Child Endangerment Law
OUI and child endangerment was enacted as part of Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts in 2005 as comprehensive legislation aimed at enhancing criminal penalties for OUI / DUI offenses involving minors.
If you are charged with OUI / DUI and Child Endangerment, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:
- You were operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant; And
- During that operation, you had a child under age 14 in your car.
So, in order to be convicted of OUI with Child Endangerment, you must first be found guilty of the OUI offense, meaning if you beat the underlying offense, you will also be relieved of the child endangerment charge.
Penalties for OUI With Child Endangerment
Chapter 90 Section 24v of Massachusetts OUI law requires the following penalties upon conviction for OUI with Child Endangerment:
- 1st Offense – Minimum 90 days jail time up to 2.5 years and a fine of from $1,000 up to $5,000.
- 1st Offense – Driver’s license suspension of 1 year.
- 2nd and subsequent Offense – Minimum 6 months jail time up to 2.5 years; OR 3 years state prison time up to 5 years; and a fine of from $5,000 up to $10,000.
- 2nd + Offense – Driver’s license suspension for 3 years.
If convicted of child endangerment, the sentence will be added onto any penalties received for the underlying OUI conviction.
There are strategies that your OUI defense attorney can develop to either negotiate down to one offense and lesser penalties, or to fight and overcome all charges brought.
If you need legal help with OUI with Child Endangerment in the Boston or Springfield area or anywhere else in Massachusetts, please call Oberhauser Law now for a free initial consultation: 978-452-1116.