It shouldn’t come as a surprise that driving under the influence is conduct that can be considered child endangerment.
It’s the responsibility of parents, caregivers, legal guardians, and custodians to ensure a child’s well-being. And, a negligent or intentional act that causes a child to be in danger of mental or physical harm can result in charges of child abuse or endangerment.
Thus, in addition to more serious OVI charges, driving under the influence with a child in the car can also lead to charges of child endangerment.
It’s also possible that being charged with an OVI when children are present can lead to an investigation by child protective services.
Child Endangerment can increase an Ohio OVI charge and add in additional criminal penalties.
Ohio courts can enhance the sentence for operating a vehicle while impaired, or OVI, if a child under the age of 18 is in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
OVI and Child Endangerment
Under Ohio state law, no person can create a “substantial risk to the health or safety of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support.”
The child endangerment statute specifically includes the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol within the definition of child endangerment when one or more children under 18 are passengers at the time.
The child-endangerment crime is in addition to the underlying OVI offense, so a drunk driver can be found guilty of two crimes in the same legal proceeding for the same drunk-driving incident. Ohio law provides that the child-endangerment crime under these circumstances is considered a second OVI for punishment and sentencing purposes.
The sanctions associated with OVI and related child endangerment charges are serious. In addition, such charges on your record can make it difficult to find employment and a place to live, as well as the personal challenges related to the remorse and stigma.