You may recall Darryl Sydor from his days playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning and even bringing home a Stanley Cup in 2004. The former NHL defenseman was arrested for drunk driving Thursday night while taking his 12-year-old son to a youth hockey game. Sydor’s blood-alcohol level was .30, which is nearly four times the legal limit, and he reportedly demonstrated slow and slurred speech. Sydor was charged with two counts of second-degree drunk driving, due to having a child in the vehicle, and faces a maximum one-year jail sentence and a fine up to $3,000. Sydor’s court date has been set for October 12th.
What Happens if You Are Arrested for DUI with a Child in the Car?
As noted in the Sydor case, driving under the influence while a child is in the car with you is treated as a serious offense. Generally speaking, the presence of a minor (usually anyone under the age of 18 for DUI purposes) may increase fines, time incarcerated, and may result in classification of the DUI as a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor. This leaves a much more serious mark on one’s criminal record and could even make it difficult to obtain certain jobs or otherwise hinder personal decisions and your financial situation. There are lawyers for DWI defense from The Medlin Law Firm that can help with getting justice.
Further, plea-bargaining could be impacted as a judge and jury’s view of a defendant when children are involved can make this defense tactic a difficult one to use.
Penalties in Florida
If charged with child endangerment in the state of Florida, you could receive up to nine months in prison and a fine between $1,000 to $2,000. Additionally, you will be required to use an ignition interlock system for six months. If it’s your second offense, you could get up to 12 months in prison, a $2,000-$4,000 fine, and an ignition interlock on your vehicle for at least two years. See Florida Statute § 316.193(4).
It is highly recommended that you consult an attorney if you are involved in a DUI – especially one involving the presence of a child as you could face child endangerment charges. Contact TJ Grimaldi at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. right away to discuss your case.