DUI With a Child Passenger

dui defense attorney in orlando

Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor in the state of Florida, but the possible consequences don’t make it any less serious of a crime. The penalties are not only costly, but they can result in a permanent inability to drive anywhere without special circumstances. One situation where an enhanced penalty can occur is the presence of a child passenger when someone is convicted of DUI. Prosecutors zealously go after these crimes under the theory that a minor could have been seriously injured or killed. A seasoned Dui Criminal lawyer can help!

With a clearer understanding of DUI with a child passenger in Florida, a defendant can have a better idea of how to adequately defend themselves in a court of law.

How Law Enforcement Officers Develop Probable Cause

Probable cause exists if the driver was in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. In order to be arrested, probable cause that the driver was under the influence must exist.

The definition of probable cause is as follows:

  • A fair probability that a crime occurred; probable cause is the only criterion necessary to arrest someone.

Probable cause is typically generated with field sobriety exercises, which test for motor skill dysfunction or involuntary movements of the eyes indicative of intoxication. If an officer or deputy tests the subject and they fail, a blood or breath test is then performed following their arrest.

In some circumstances, even without probable cause, a law enforcement officer can prevent someone from driving with enough reasonable suspicion.

The definition of reasonable suspicion is:

  • An articulable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed. Incoherent answers to questions or the smell of alcohol may constitute reasonable suspicion, which means an officer can impound a vehicle, but they may not be able to arrest someone.

If someone is arrested for DUI, however, there are enhanced penalties for actions like driving under the legal drinking age or driving under the influence with a minor passenger.

DUI With a Child Passenger in Florida

DUI by itself is a misdemeanor offense; however, enhanced penalties can lead to greater levels of punishment for someone that commits DUI. This is especially true if someone under the age of 18 is in the vehicle. If someone under the age of 18 is in the vehicle when someone is driving under the influence, the charge is enhanced.

Probable cause for DUI with a child passenger exists when the following elements are present:

  • Someone is driving a vehicle under the influence or is in actual, physical control. Actual physical control exists even if someone has the keys or the capability of driving and operating the vehicle.
  • Someone in the vehicle is under the age of 18.
  • Impairment is proven to be above the legal limit
  • Impairment is caused by drugs or alcohol

In many instances, even if reasonable suspicion is present, it doesn’t constitute sufficient evidence to arrest someone for DUI with a passenger under 18. In some instances, a law enforcement officer might make an illegal arrest. If this occurs, hiring an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney is critical.

Hire the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys in Orlando

At the Umansky Law Firm,  we’ve defended countless clients who have been falsely arrested for DUI with a child passenger. Led by the husband and wife team of Zahra and William D. Umansky, our lawyers bring more than 100 years of combined legal experience to the table.

Let us be your best defenders. Give us a call 24/7 at (407) 890-0336 or complete our online contact form for a free consultation today.