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Georgia Child Endangerment

Posted by Sam Sliger | Oct 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Recently driver's have been charged with DUI and had their children in the car with them. Here are a few of the recent articles where Driver's in Georgia were charged with DUI and they had a child in the car:

Woman DUI Arrested for Vehicular Homicide 2 Counts (September 14, 2014)

A woman who was arrested for DUI, vehicular homicide (two counts), reckless driving, speeding, and child endangerment (two counts, because she had two children in the car with her at the time of the accident) after causing a wreck on September 14, 2014 at the intersection of Garnett Street and Buford Highway has not been sentenced yet. Police said that she was traveling at a high rate of speed, approximately 91 miles per hour in her Pontiac Grand Am when she t-boned a Daewoo Lanos on the driver's side, driven by a man with a passenger. Both men were killed on the scene. The driver of the Grand Am also had another passenger in the car other than the children, but the passenger did not suffer major injuries. At the time of the accident, the driver of the Grand Am's BAC (blood alcohol content) was .147, almost double what the legal limit of what Georgia's legal driving limit is (.08). The two children, a nine year old boy and a five year old girl, were transported from the scene by ambulance to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, but did not sustain any life threatening injuries. The driver of the Grand Am was booked at approximately 10:50 on that Saturday morning and was released after posting a $38,045 bail at approximately 6:30 that same Saturday evening.

Gwinnett Deputy Arrested for DUI & Child Endangerment (October 24, 2014)

On Thursday, October 23, 2014 at approximately 5:30 pm, there was an accident that occurred on Braselton Highway in Dacula. The driver of a 2013 Ford Edge was a deputy of Gwinnett County (who was off duty at the time of the incident) and when a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder pulled onto the road in front of him off of Hog Mountain Church Road, the Ford rear-ended the Nissan. The officer who responded to the wreck stated that he could detect a slight odor of alcohol on the deputy's breath. After being asked if he had been drinking, the deputy stated that he had one 12 oz. beer at 11:00 that morning, but then later changed his story and said that he had one 24 oz. beer, but had not eaten anything since approximately 8:00 that morning. After showing impairment while trying to complete several field sobriety tests, the off duty deputy was arrested. The deputy had his two children in the Ford with him while he was under the influence. When they arrived at the jail, the deputy was given two separate BAC (blood alcohol content) tests and both results came back a .11, which is well over the legal driving limit of .08 in the state of Georgia. There is an internal investigation going on per department policy. The officer on scene determined that the collision was at the fault of the Nissan Pathfinder's driver.

Consequences

A DUI with an additional charge of DUI Child Endangerment can have potentially devastating effects, especially for those responsible for the care of children in their job, including:• Teachers• Day care owners and employees• Bus drivers• Healthcare providersIf your job requires you to drive like the following, a conviction for DUI and DUI Child Endangerment:• Sales people• Real estate agents• Truck drivers (possibly resulting in a lifetime disqualification of a CDL) At best, those with one of the above occupations may be required to disclose their conviction at some point as a condition of employment.  It is also possible that you may lose your job if convicted of DUI Child Endangerment.  Many states, including Georgia, have enacted very tough laws that apply to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child under the age of 14 is in the vehicle.  As part of Georgia's DUI law, a provision has been added making it a separate charge of DUI child endangerment if a driver is intoxicated while transporting a minor.  Sentencing for a conviction of a DUI Child Endangerment charge is covered under a different statute that governs contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or deprivation of a minor.

What qualifies as a DUI child endangerment charge?

Georgia law states that a driver charged with DUI, while a minor under 14 years of age is also in the vehicle, will face an additional charge of Child Endangerment.  Unfortunately the charge of DUI Endangerment does not “merge” with the underlying charge of DUI if you are convicted of both DUI Child Endangerment and DUI.  It will be counted as a separate offense for the purpose of a license suspension, even when both the DUI charge and the DUI Child Endangerment charge arise out of the same incident.  What this means is if you are convicted of DUI and DUI Child Endangerment out of the same arrest, your conviction will be treated as a 2nd in 5 year conviction for license suspension purposes (see DUI penalties).  It will even count towards being declared a Habitual Violator if there was more than one child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, meaning that you could lose your license or driving privileges here in Georgia for up to five years if you have two children in the vehicle under the age of 14!• Within 10 business days from the date of your arrest, your Georgia driver's license or driving privileges will be suspended for a year with NO PERMIT.  Properly coordinating and handling the criminal case and the administrative license suspension action can improve your chances of being able to drive.• Other charges in addition to your DUI charge may be more serious and carry more punishment than the DUI charge.  An additional charge like DUI Child Endangerment will have a major impact on your driver's license or privilege to drive in Georgia if you are convicted or enter a guilty/nolo contendere plea to the DUI and DUI Child Endangerment charges.  You would not be eligible for a permit if you are a Georgia licensee for at least 120 days, if not longer.  You may even be declared a Habitual Violator if there were more than one child in the vehicle under the age of 14.• You may inadvertently give incriminating statements or evidence if you represent yourself and speak to a prosecutor or judge without being represented by an attorney.• Administrative License Suspension Besides your criminal case pending in State Court, Superior Court, or any municipal court, probate court, or recorder's court, you are likely facing an administrative license suspension.  There is only a limited time to request this separate hearing to preserve your driving privileges.   Whether you refused the State's chemical test, or the breath test results indicated an alcohol concentration above the legal limit, Georgia law requires your officer to serve you notice of an administrative license suspension. The form that is used is called a DS-1205 form (click on link to show the form). This form is either yellow or white and the officer may have had you sign it. Sometimes this paperwork gets lost (you may have received it, but may have been misplaced, or it may have been lost at the jail). You only have 10 business days to request a hearing to preserve your driving privileges:  Regardless as to whether you have actually received a DS-1205 form, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you take action within 10 business days (as opposed to 10 actual days) from the date of your arrest to preserve your driving privileges.  If you do not request a hearing within 10 business days from the date of your arrest and pay Georgia Department of Driver Services a $150 fee, your Georgia driver's license or privilege to drive in Georgia (for those with an out of state driver's license) will be suspended automatically on the 31st day after the date of your arrest – if your officer submitted the administrative license suspension DS-1205 paperwork to the Georgia Department of Driver Services.  In most cases, you do not want your license to be suspended without a hearing.  There are times when it may be a good strategy not to submit a request for a hearing, or to purposefully lose an administrative license suspension action.  That sounds counter-intuitive, but in a limited number of circumstances, it is a wise strategy to gain an advantage in the criminal DUI case.   Once the Georgia Department of Driver Services processes your request for a hearing, your case is then sent to the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings where a hearing will be scheduled in front of an administrative law judge.  Typically a hearing date with the Office of State Administrative hearings is set roughly 30 to 60 days from the date of your arrest.  Once a hearing is requested, the Department of Driver Services will extend your driving privileges until there is an order entered from an administrative law judge.deciding your case.  The administrative law judge's only role in an administrative hearing is to determine if the following factors were met:

• Whether the law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a moving motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and was lawfully placed under arrest for violating Code Section 40-6-391 (the DUI statute); or

• Whether the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in serious injury or fatality; and

• Whether at the time of the request for the test or tests the officer informed the person of the person's Implied Consent rights and the consequences of submitting or refusing to submit to such test; and• Whether the person refused the test; or whether a test or tests were administered and the results indicated an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams or more or, for a person under the age of 21, an alcohol concentration of 0.02 grams or more or, for a person operating or having actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more; and

• Whether the test or tests were properly administered by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the Division of Forensic Sciences of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on an instrument approved by the Division of Forensic Sciences or a test conducted by the Division of Forensic Sciences, including whether the machine at the time of the test was operated with all of its electronic and operating components prescribed by its manufacturer properly attached and in good working order, which shall be required. A copy of the operator's permit showing that the operator has been trained on the particular type of instrument used and one of the original copies of the test results or, where the test is performed by the Division of Forensic Sciences, a copy of the crime lab report shall satisfy the requirements of this subparagraph.

Remember, you only have 10 business days to request an administrative hearing through the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

About the Author

Sam Sliger

Sam Sliger is the newest member of McDonald & Cody, LLC. He is proud to be a Graduate from the University of Georgia. Sam is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and a member of the United States District Court.

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