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DUI Driver Charged With Child Endangerment

A man who allegedly crashed his car into a pole while racing is being charged with several crimes, including DUI and child endangerment. According to police reports, Andrew Lopez, 23, was arrested after he crashed his vehicle into a pole while allegedly racing with another vehicle in the area of Lincoln and Sonora Streets in Stockton. Lopez had two juveniles in the car with him at the time of the crash, and both passengers were taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

Lopez is said to have run away on foot after the crash. However, police soon located him and placed him under arrest, charging him with child endangerment as well as driving under the influence and other traffic-related offenses. It is unclear if the police charged Lopez with hit-and-run. Lopez was also taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

California Is Tough on DUIs While Riding With Children

Like many other states, California has special ways of handling drivers who are charged with DUI when there is a child in the car. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1,200 children died and more than 171,000 were injured in car crashes in 2010, making car accidents the most common cause of accidental death for children. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of the child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents occurred when the child was riding in the car with a drunk driver.

For this reason, many states are focusing legislative efforts on passing laws that provide for strict punishments for DUIs committed with children in the vehicle. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23572, anyone found driving under the influence with a child under 14 in the car is subject to increased penalties in addition to those normally given for a DUI. Specifically, those who are convicted of a DUI with a child under 14 in the vehicle are subject to at least 48 hours in jail for the first DUI conviction.

Furthermore, many drivers receive a separate child endangerment charge. This is a very serious charge that could affect your entire future and cause you to serve up to a year in jail, even for a misdemeanor conviction. Child endangerment is not limited by the 14-year-old age limit and can be charged on anyone for any action involving a child under the age of 18.

If you are charged with a DUI involving a child, it is vital that you retain a good lawyer. Amerio Law attorneys can help you mitigate the penalties imposed by the state for a “child DUI” and avoid a blemish on your record that could haunt you for the rest of your life.

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