Driving Drunk at Over 127 Miles Per Hour With Children in Car?
A Florida man was recently charged with DUI, Child Cruelty, and Reckless Driving after the police clocked him driving drunk at over 127 mph with three small children in the car. Just last year, Pennsylvania modified its DUI law to increase the penalties for a conviction of DUI in which people under the age of 18 were in the car. The new DUI law, found at 75 Pa.C.S. § 3803 (b) (5), provides that if a person drives under the influence with a minor in the car, even a first time offender of DUI will face a minimum fine of $1,000 and 100 hours of community service. The grading of the charge is also increased from an ungraded misdemeanor to a misdemeanor of the first degree, which means the maximum sentence permitted by law increases from six months incarceration and a $5,000.00 fine to five years incarceration and $10,000.00 fine. The first degree misdemeanor would also carry the collateral consequence of lifetime prohibition on the possession of a firearm under Federal law.
Recklessly Endangering Another Person Charges
Aside from the actual DUI charge, a person driving at such an excessive speed with young children in the car would also probably be charged with of this nature, additional charges are usually filed, such as Recklessly Endangering Another Person (REAP). A charge of REAP is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree and thereby carries a maximum sentence of 2 years incarceration and a $5,000.00 fine.
To be found guilty of REAP under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2705, a person “must recklessly engage in conduct which places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.” In the case of Commonwealth v. Jeter, a Pennsylvania appellate court stated that driving while under the influence alone does not necessarily establish the recklessness needed to secure a conviction of Reckless Endangerment, but, when there are aggravating circumstances such as speed, unsafe driving, and the age of passengers, a can be charged. Based upon the facts provided in the article, the man in this case could readily be charged with an offense of Recklessly Endangering Another Person for each child in the car based upon his high level of intoxication, the relatively young age of the children, and the excessively high speed.
This man will need the services of a quality DUI defense attorney to provide representation this case.