A DUI charge can drastically change your life even if it is your first offense, and you may have to pay significant legal fees to clear your name and move on with your life. California courts may allow a first-time offender to be released prior to his or her trial without having to pay bail, but if there was a child in your car at the time of the arrest, you could face significant penalties alongside a hefty bail price.
Child Endangerment Explained
Child endangerment, or California Penal Code 273a PC, is the crime of willfully putting a child, under the defendant’s care, at risk of suffering “unreasonable harm,” great bodily injury, or death. This can cover a broad range of crimes, ranging from leaving a child with a caretaker with a history of abuse to leaving a firearm where a child can easily access it. In addition, it can also apply to having a child in a car during a DUI.
Child endangerment is treated as a wobbler in California based on the perceived danger to the child. If there is no risk of the child suffering a great bodily injury or death, then it is treated as a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of up to one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. However, if there is a possibility of the child suffering a great bodily injury or death, then it can be treated as a misdemeanor or felony. With felony charges, this crime comes with between two to six years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Overlap With Vehicle Code 23572
While child endangerment applies to children under the age of 18, Vehicle Code 23572, or DUI with a minor passenger, can also come into play if the child was under the age of 14. This charge only requires that a defendant be charged with driving under the influence when a minor under 14 years of age was the passenger. This charge is treated as an enhancement on a DUI, adding additional jail time, more fines, and extending a license suspension to a misdemeanor or felony DUI sentence. However, if the child was injured, it may also result in a DUI with injuries charge.
It is important to know that you cannot be convicted of both child endangerment and DUI with a minor passenger, but you can be charged with both. It will be up to the discretion of the district attorney if you will face one or both charges. If you are charged with both, it will be up to a jury to determine which charge you will be convicted of.
Posting Bail After a DUI With a Minor Passenger
The amount of money you will have to post for bail will vary depending on your charges. Southern California courts take cases involving child endangerment very seriously. While our courts have begun to re-evaluate bail for misdemeanor DUIs, they may feel mandatory bail may be necessary when a child is in danger. Bail is also almost guaranteed when you have multiple DUI convictions on your record. However, if the prosecution chooses to file child endangerment charges, then bail can be as high as $100,000.
Paying for bail is next to impossible for most people in Southern California, but you do have options if your loved one was arrested. Balboa Bail Bonds provides affordable rates for posting bail for individuals arrested in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. We only charge a flat 10% premium to post bail for clients and can work with you to prepare a payment plan that fits your situation. Each of our agents has at least five years of experience in the industry and can act quickly to get bail posted and your loved one out of jail. If you or a loved one was charged with child endangerment, call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222 today to get bail posted.