Will DCF Get Involved If I Got a DUI with My Child in the Car?

In 2018, there were 7,484 arrests made for driving under the influence in Connecticut. During the same year, there were 115 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state. Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. If convicted, you could be facing harsh penalties, including jail time, fines, license suspension, and probation. However, your punishment will be even more severe if you were driving intoxicated with a minor in the car.

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at DeMatteo Legal Solutions can provide comprehensive answers to your questions regarding drunk driving penalties in Connecticut with a minor in the vehicle. We can help you challenge your drivers' license suspension and fight to reinstate your driving privileges. We are proud to represent clients throughout West Haven, New Haven, Milford, Meriden, Derby, and Waterbury, Connecticut.

Will DCF Get Involved if I Get A DUI with My Child in the Car?

Being arrested for a DUI offense is considered a risk of injury to a minor. If your kids were in the vehicle during the arrest, the police officer is mandated to inform the Connecticut Department of Children and Family (DCF). You are likely to face charges relating to the risk of injury to a minor. You could be facing multiple counts of this charge if you had more than one child in your vehicle. 

In many child endangerment situations, DCF will carry out an investigation. If it was believed that the child could be in potential harm, they may remove him or her from your home. 

What is Risk of Injury to a Minor?

Under Connecticut law (Connecticut General Statutes ("C.G.S.") §53-21), an individual commits risk of injury to a minor when he or she:

  • Knowingly and willfully endangers the limb or life of a child below 16 years;
  • Places the child in a situation where the child's health is likely to be injured;
  • Places the child in a situation where the child's morals are likely to be compromised; or
  • Has contact with the intimate parts of the child.

Violation of the Connecticut General Statutes § 53-21 is considered a class C felony. If convicted, you could be facing hefty fines, time in prison, and probation.

Possible Penalties for Risk of Injury to a Minor

The State of Connecticut takes children's welfare and safety very seriously. Being arrested for DUI with a child in your vehicle will be considered child endangerment. Possible penalties include:

  • Fines: Up to $10,000
  • Prison Sentence: Up to 10 years
  • License Suspension: Mandatory driver's license suspension for 45 days. You may be required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for one year
  • Community Service: At least 100 hours of community service

Possible Defenses

The fact that you were arrested doesn't make you guilty. If you have been arrested for a drunk driving offense in Connecticut with a minor in your vehicle, possible defense includes:

  • The arrest was unlawful (no probable cause, didn't advise of rights)
  • Arresting officers failed to follow proper procedure
  • Testing was not in accordance with state law
  • Driving was not impaired by the alcohol or drugs
  • The breath test unit was not properly calibrated
  • Blood samples or tests were contaminated or compromised

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Defending your DUI or child endangerment charges without the proper guidance of a knowledgeable attorney can increase your risk of suffering maximum penalties. If convicted, your child could be taken away from your home. You could also lose your driving privileges and other future opportunities. That is why you need to seek the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately.

Our attorneys at DeMatteo Legal Solutions have dedicated their career to representing clients in cases such as DUI, child endangerment, and DCF investigation matters. We will assess all the details of your case and determine your best defense strategy for a favorable outcome. Our team will help you fight to protect your rights and family.

DUI Defense in West Haven, Connecticut

If you or a family member has been arrested and charged for drunk driving with a minor in the car, call DeMatteo Legal Solutions today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our team of knowledgable attorneys is experienced in handling complex criminal defense matters. We proudly serve clients in West Haven, Meriden, Derby New Haven, Milford, and Waterbury, Connecticut.

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