The rate of alcoholism in Alaska exceeds the national average. In 2020, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked Alaska first in states with the worst drivers. Drunken driving and speeding accounted for over 95% of Alaska’s vehicle fatalities in 2018.
Alaskan law is simple. If a person drinks and drives, the driver may face jail time, but what happens if there are also children in the car?
DUI and child endangerment charges
Alaskan law states that anyone who drives under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, inhalant or controlled substance with a child in the vehicle may face charges of endangering a child. If the children are under 16, there may be a first-degree charge. The driver may receive a second-degree charge if the children are under nine.
So it is possible to receive two charges in such a case: one for the DUI and one for child endangerment.
Whatever the levied charges may be, drivers may have defenses against them. It is possible for drivers to face a DUI charge even if they have not been drinking. There are a variety of situations where a DUI charge may not entirely hold up:
- Faulty breath test
- Illegal stop
- Inaccurate field sobriety test
- No evidence of suspect driving vehicle
The presence of children may complicate things further. However, there are also possible child endangerment defenses in this kind of a situation, which require a careful approach:
- Lack of intent
- Mistake of fact
A DUI charge is a serious matter, especially if it includes children. Professional guidance may be necessary when creating a defense. Taking the time to build a solid defense early on may keep drivers from prison time and fines, as well as preserve both their personal and professional reputations.