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How do DWI charges change when a child is in the car

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense. Even for a first offense, convicted parties will face serious consequences. The least serious case of DWI can still see a person face up to 90 days in jail, between 30 and 90 days without a driver's license and up to $1,000 in various fines. There are numerous aggravating factors that could cause a person to face more serious consequences if convicted. 

One such factor that can greatly increase the penalties is if the intoxicated driver had a child in the car at the time of arrest. Driving under the influence when you are the only one in the car is reckless enough. The state does not look favorably on those who endanger the lives of children.

Penalties when a child is in the vehicle

In Minnesota, any child under the age of 16 is a minor. Additionally, the inclusion of a child only counts as an aggravating factor if there is at least a 36-month difference between the age of the drunk driver and the child. Therefore, a 17-year old driving drunk with his 16-year old friend would not face child endangerment charges. 

However, a 25-year old driving with his two-year-old daughter will face additional charges. In addition to at least third-degree DWI charges, the driver may also go to court for child endangerment. In this instance, the driver could face up to a year in jail, a revoked driver's license for at least two years and up to $3,000 in fines. 

Additional aggravating factors

Having a child in the car at the time of arrest is not the only thing that can lead to more serious charges. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Minnesota is 0.08. If your BAC exceeds 0.16, then you will face more serious charges. Additionally, people arrested for their third, fourth or fifth DWI will have more serious consequences than someone arrested for a first offense ever. 

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