2018 Child Endangerment Report



Uniform Age Requirement A “child,” for purposes of applying a child endangerment DUI/DWI statute, should be minimally defined as a person under the age of 16 years. States that currently have a definition of over 16 years of age are encouraged to keep their existing definition. Child Restraint Laws State child passenger restraint and safety laws should be thorough in their coverage and must provide for primary enforcement. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to give high priority to enforcement of these laws. Consideration should be given to adding driver’s license point suspensions for violations of child passenger restraint laws. Further consideration should be given to administrative revocation/suspension for drivers who commit a second or subsequent offense of any child passenger safety occupant protection laws. Child Endangerment DUI/DWI Statutes The penalties for violation of child endangerment provisions should be substantially higher than the penalties imposed in DUI/DWI cases where children are not involved and should include the following: • In addition to criminal penalties imposed upon conviction, state law should provide for the administrative license revocation/suspension of licenses for alcohol-related child endangerment offenses and for drivers who refuse to take the state administered test of their breath, blood, urine or other bodily substance with children in the vehicle. • Mandatory alcohol/drug assessment and treatment as indicated by the assessment. • A required installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device on any vehicle that may be used by the defendant to transport children under the age of 16 years. • License reinstatement or issuance of a limited driving permit following license suspension/revocation should be contingent upon installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device and, if treatment is required as a result of the court ordered alcohol/drug assessment, completion of the treatment program should be required for full license reinstatement. • A second offense for violation of the child endangerment DUI/DWI statute should be a felony. • An offender charged with violation of the child endangerment statute should not be eligible for pre-trial diversion, deferred adjudication, probation before judgment (PBJ) or similar programs, and a conviction should remain on the offender’s driving record permanently and would not “age off” or be expunged.

The 2004 Child Endangerment Report, Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver outlined several recommendations.


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