Any time that a child is involved in a crime committed by an adult, the penalties for the adult may be much harsher that if the child had not been present. A common example is an arrest for suspected drunk driving where the officer discovers that a child was in the car while the adult was engaged in DUI. A recent arrest in Flagler County demonstrates this point.
Two off-duty Seminole County deputies observed a car being driven in a reckless manner on I-95. Other drivers also called police about the car and the driver's dangerous behavior. The two deputies followed the suspect's car until the driver pulled over on her own accord. The deputies were concerned about her (at the time, they thought she was male) behavior, and they pulled over to offer assistance.
The deputies immediately discovered an 8-year-old child in the car, and one of the deputies decided to sit in the car until an on-duty officer arrived. The two deputies decided to administer a field sobriety test, which the woman flunked. Uniformed police officers finally arrived at the scene and arrested the woman. The officers found a half-consumed bottle of alcohol in the car. She was given a breathalyzer test at the sheriff's officer and was found to have a blood alcohol content that was three times the legal limit. The woman was arrested and charged with drunk driving and child neglect. The 8-year-old was taken into custody by a relative.
The defendant in this case faces serious criminal charges, which will be even more serious because the child was in the car. Anyone in a similar situation may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on possible defense strategies and negotiation of a plea agreement.