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A child in the passenger seat increases drunk driving penalties.

If the police pull you over for drunk driving, you can face jail time, significant fines, the loss of your license and other damaging consequences. However, you could face even more challenges if a child was in the passenger seat.

What are the penalties for drunk driving with an underage passenger?

Under Maryland law, drivers can be charged with either driving while impaired (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI). If the police find that you drove while impaired by drugs or alcohol with a minor in your vehicle, you face penalties that include:

  • 1st DWI while transporting a minor—Up to six months in prison and fines of up to $1,000
  • 2nd DWI while transporting a minor—Up to one year in prison and fines of up to $2,000
  • 3rd DWI while transporting a minor and subsequent charges—Up to four years in prison and fines of up to $4,000

The police charge most drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher with a DUI. The police can charge under the age of 21 with a BAC of as little as 0.02. The penalties for DUI charges include:

  • 1st DUI while transporting a minor—Up to two years in prison and fines of up to $2,000
  • 2nd DUI while transporting a minor—Up to three years in prison and fines of up to $3,000
  • 3rd DUI while transporting a minor and subsequent charges—Up to four years in prison and fines of up to $4,000

These penalties are the same regardless of the age of the child in the passenger seat. Whether your passenger is an infant, a toddler or a high schooler approaching adulthood, you face crippling fines, significant jail time and other penalties the court may assess for drunk driving.

If the police charged you with drunk driving while transporting a minor, speak to an attorney immediately. They can help you fight back against these charges and defend your rights.