Unfortunately, rates of alcoholism in Alaska exceed the country average. On top of that, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated in 2020 that Alaska had the worse drivers.
Up to 95 percent of vehicle fatalities in 2018 were due to speeding or intoxicated driving. Under state law, people convicted of DUI will face penalties. But how do these penalties change for the involvement of a child passenger?
Additional charges of child endangerment
The Alaska State Legislature takes a look into child passengers in vehicles where a driver ends up charged with a DUI. Drivers who hit the road with a child in the car and are found guilty of being intoxicated with an inhalant, beverage or other controlled substances could face child endangerment charges.
If the child is under nine years old, this could be a second-degree charge. If the child is younger than sixteen, the driver could face a first-degree charge. Thus, this increases a driver’s total count of charges from one to at least two.
Defenses against DUI and endangerment
Drivers have potential defenses against both the DUI charge as well as the child endangerment charge, though.
Regarding intoxication, there are plenty of reasons a false positive may occur or a charge may not hold weight. This includes faulty breath tests, inaccurate field sobriety testing, illegal stops, or no evidence that the suspect drove the vehicle.
Regarding child endangerment, a person could argue from different angles including duress, lack of intent, or mistake of fact.
These arguments require careful handling, which is why many in this situation turn to legal aid to get through the trial.