Ohio takes intoxicated driving extremely seriously, and even a first-time offender who is facing charges for operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) can face significant penalties in the event of a conviction. The consequences of an OVI become significantly more severe if you are charged with an OVI and have a passenger under the age of 18 in your vehicle. In such circumstances, you can face OVI and child endangerment charges under Ohio law. Our Dayton OVI defense attorneys can provide you with more information about OVI child endangerment charges in Ohio.

Child Endangerment Can Include Operating a Motor Vehicle While Impaired With a Child in the Vehicle

While there are multiple kinds of acts that can result in child endangerment charges under Ohio law, including actions that are often understood to constitute child abuse, it is critical for you to know that you can also face child endangerment charges if you are arrested for drunk or drugged driving and have a child in your car. The statute states that it is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated when there is a child under the age of 18 in the car. 

When a person does operate a vehicle and a passenger aged 17 or younger is an occupant, that person can be charged with child endangerment. The statute makes clear that mistake of age—not realizing that a passenger was under the age of 18—is not a defense to these child endangerment charges. These types of cases are often known as OVI child endangerment cases in Ohio.

Child Endangerment Charges are in Addition to OVI Charges

If you are accused of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and you have a passenger under the age of 18, it is critical to understand that you can face child endangerment charges in addition to the OVI charges you will be facing. 

When you face OVI and child endangerment charges, the penalties can be severe if you are convicted. OVI with child endangerment is usually charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in a jail sentence of up to $180 days and a fine of up to $1,000 if nobody is injured as a result of the impaired driving. However, if there is an accident and the child is injured, you will be facing felony charges. Even minor injuries can result in fifth-degree felony charges, and the charges will be more severe if the child sustains serious injuries.

Contact a Dayton OVI Defense Attorney

If you are facing OVI child endangerment charges in Ohio, it is critical to begin working with an experienced OVI defense lawyer in Dayton as soon as possible. As we explained, OVI child endangerment charges are much more serious than OVI charges alone in Ohio, and a conviction can result in a misdemeanor criminal record, jail time, and a significant monetary fine. Our Dayton defense lawyers can provide you with more information about defending against OVI child endangerment charges. Contact the Comunale Law Office for more information.