You have just been pulled over by the police, who suspect you are driving while intoxicated. When the officer spots your child in the backseat, he cites you for DWI with a minor passenger.
In New Jersey, any parent or guardian cited for DWI who has a passenger in the car under the age of 17 will also be cited with a disorderly person’s offense. This means in addition to the sentence for the DWI, the person forfeits the right to operate a motor vehicle for a maximum of six months and must perform community service for up to five days.
Driving while intoxicated is dangerous to children
Numerous studies have shown how much danger children face when their parent drives while drunk.
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that children are more likely to die in an alcohol-related car accident than adults. When a parent is drunk, they might forget to properly restrain their child in a car seat or by a belt. This makes the child extremely vulnerable.
- The Center For Disease Control (CDC) found that between 2000 and 2009, one in five deaths of child passengers were caused by a parent driving while drunk.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2014, 209 children were killed in drunk driving-related crashes, and 56% of the cited parents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.
Understanding the law and the consequences is very important. If you have been cited for driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger, you will face a harsh sentence if you are convicted. That’s why it’s important to seek guidance to help you navigate the process.