Potential Defense Strategies for DUI Child Endangerment in Mississippi

While there are many aggravating factors associated with DUIs in Mississippi, perhaps one of the most notable involves child endangerment. If you had a child in your vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest, you face enhanced penalties that can be quite severe. It is obviously in your best interests to fight these charges in the most effective way possible – but how exactly do you accomplish this goal? With the right defense strategy, this might be easier than you realize. With that said, it is important to realize that the most appropriate defense strategy depends entirely on the unique circumstances surrounding your arrest – and it’s always best to consult with an attorney. 

The Passenger Was Not a Child

If the circumstances regarding the underlying DUI offense seem impossible to fight, it may be worth establishing that there was no child in your vehicle at the time of your DUI. Many police officers take a quick look inside vehicles and determine an occupant’s age simply by glancing at them. However, this is not an accurate way of determining a child’s age. Some children look much younger than they actually are, and some look much older. Sometimes, the easiest way to beat a DUI child endangerment offense is to simply provide the court with a copy of the minor’s birth certificate. 

Note that this will not help you avoid penalties for the underlying DUI offense. Because of the enhanced penalties associated with DUI child endangerment, however, this could mean the difference between incarceration and less severe penalties. 

Fourth Amendment Violations

You should also know that police officers are only allowed to search your vehicle if they believe that the search could uncover evidence of a crime. If they search your vehicle without your consent and discover the presence of a child, this could represent a Fourth Amendment violation. For example, your child may have been completely invisible due to tinted windows. If a police officer had no reason to believe that evidence of a crime lies within the vehicle, they may have been unjustified in executing a search. As a result, all evidence uncovered during the unlawful search would be inadmissible in court – potentially including the presence of a child. 

You Were Not Intoxicated

Another option is to show that you were not intoxicated at the time of the arrest. If you were not intoxicated, the presence of your child should not enter into the equation at all. Basic DUI defense strategies apply in this situation. The Breathalyzer test result may be unreliable. Your level of impairment may not have affected your ability to drive. Perhaps the officer did follow the correct procedures during a test, and they failed to calibrate the device before using it. Maybe they relied solely on subjective evidence during Field Sobriety Tests, and they did not use any chemical tests at all. In addition, certain medications and foods may trigger inaccurate Breathalyzer results. For example, certain fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha or horseradish can potentially provide positive Breathalyzer results when consumed in large quantities. 

You Were Not Driving

Finally, you might choose to argue that you were not actually driving your vehicle at the time of your arrest. For example, you may have been sleeping in your vehicle alongside your child. Maybe you simply wanted somewhere warm to wait. Perhaps someone else was driving your vehicle, and you simply got into the driver’s seat to adjust the air conditioning while the driver went into a store to purchase a snack. Whatever the case may be, you can only face DUI charges (and subsequent child endangerment offenses) if you were driving the vehicle. 

Find a Qualified DUI Defense Attorney in Mississippi

If you have been searching for an experienced DUI defense attorney in Mississippi, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Over the years, we have helped numerous DUI defendants in the Magnolia State – including those accused of DUI child endangerment. The penalties for this offense can be quite serious. To avoid these penalties, it makes sense to begin formulating a defense strategy as soon as possible. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your options.

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