Massachusetts OUI Child Endangerment
Under Massachusetts DUI law, if you are charged with drunk driving, and also have a child under 14 in your vehicle, you will also be charged with operating under the influence child endangerment, under Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws, Chapter 90 Section 24V. The child endangerment law was part of the amendments to Massachusetts OUI laws known as Melanie’s Law.
The Child Endangerment law carries a maximum sentence of 2 1/2 years in the house of correction, it would require a judge to impose a 90 day minimum jail sentence; however, the law would allow that sentence to be suspended, meaning that the statute does not require mandatory jail time. A child endangerment charge cannot be Continued Without a Finding; however, in many cases, a district attorney will agree to dismiss the Child Endangerment charge in exchange for a plea on the underlying OUI offense.
There is no way around it; having a child in the car makes your case more difficult to defend. When taking a child endangerment charge to trial, as a practical matter, our defense is going to have to present more information if it is a jury trial to persuade the jury that you were drinking socially, for example with family and that the child was not endangered. Jurors would understandably be very concerned that someone was drinking with a child both around and in the car so the defense must recognize that reality of how the case will be viewed.Our history of success with fighting this Charge:
Attorney DelSignore has had clients found not guilt of both OUI and child endangerment and in other cases has been able to negotiate with the prosecutor to dismiss the child endangerment charge.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Child endangerment charge also carries with it a one-year license loss. To prove a child endangerment charge Commonwealth would have to show that the child in the car was under the age of 14 and also obtain a conviction against you for operating under the influence of alcohol. If you are found guilty of the OUI charge and child endangerment charge, you may be able to get a hardship license from the Board of Appeals to get back on the road for work.Summary of the potential penalties for OUI Child Endangerment:
- One year license loss; you may be able to get a hardship license on this charge with the Board of Appeals.
- Misdemeanor criminal conviction for 1st offense
- Guilty finding must be imposed as a CWOF is not authorized by the law
The district attorney may agree to dismiss an OUI child endangerment charge in exchange for a plea on the underlying OUI offense. A conviction on the child endangerment charge would result in a one year loss of license and while jail time is typically not imposed in a standard first offense when a child is involved is more difficult to predict what sentence a judge would give after trial.Defense Strategies in defending a Child Endangerment charge:
- Negotiate a dismissal of the child endangerment charge in an exchange for a plea on the OUI offense;
- Obtain a not guilty verdict on the underlying OUI offense.
Given the severe consequences of an OUI child endangerment charge, it is important to have a strong defense at trial and skillful Massachusetts DUI lawyer to confront any OUI child endangerment charges Massachusetts.
To speak to attorney Michael A. DelSignore about your Massachusetts OUI Child Endangerment charge you can call 508-455-4755 or call or Text Attorney DelSignore on his cell phone at 781-686-5924 to discuss your case.