Over the years, prosecutors in many states have used language embedded in child endangerment laws to add charges when a parent is accused of drunk driving while a child in the car. In Missouri, lawmakers have included a provision that addresses the issue of driving while impaired with a child under the age of 17 in the child endangerment statute. When a parent, or other driver, is accused of driving drunk with a minor in the car, the stakes and complexity of the criminal case can be raised.

Authorities in Platte County, Missouri, accuse a 33-year-old man of falling asleep in his car roughly one-tenth of a mile from his home. Witnesses say that they noticed a car stopped in the middle of the street. People in the neighborhood approached the stopped vehicle and say that the man was sleeping in the driver’s seat with his 4-year-old child sitting in his lap.

Police were called in to investigate, and the Platte County man now is facing DWI and child endangerment charges. The man was processed at the jail before being released on $1,500 bond.

DWI charges alone in Missouri can lead to a number of issues for a person accused of the offense. The potential for jail time and fines are generally what people first think about. But, there is also an administrative side to a DWI case related to a person’s privilege to drive. Notably, a driver’s license suspension or revocation is generally handled outside of the criminal case.

A driver accused of drunk driving with an alcohol level of 0.08 percent or greater can expect the state to suspend or revoke the driving privilege. A driver has only 15 days to file the appropriate paperwork to request an administrative hearing to challenge the administrative loss of license. A DWI defense lawyer may represent a person accused of DWI in both sides of a DWI case.

Source: Fox 4 KC, “Man found asleep in car close to home faces DWI, child endangerment charges,” Eric Burke, March 25, 2014