Although virtually every motorist understands that it is incredibly dangerous to drive while they are impaired, it is not illegal to drive with a minor amount of alcohol in one’s system, as long as a motorist doesn’t exceed the legal limit. As a result of this reality, it is often easy for motorists to justify scooting into a driver’s seat and driving after having a single drink, or even a few over a decently long period of time, because they believe themselves to be “sober enough” to drive lawfully.
Yet, even if you believe that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) couldn’t possibly be over the legal limit – based on how much you’ve had to drink and over what time period – if you are transporting minors, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel until you’re 100% sober. Because of Leandra’s Law, if you are wrong about the level of your sobriety, you could face years in prison as a result of your error in judgment.
The consequences of a DWI while transporting a minor
While first-time driving while impaired (DWI) charges should be treated as a serious challenge, the consequences associated with a conviction will not necessarily result in any jail time. Up to one year in jail is possible but is rarely imposed for a first-time offender who has not caused anyone harm.
Yet, due to Leandra’s Law, if you are convicted of a DWI while transporting a minor – even if you have no prior record of DWI offenses – you could face a maximum of four years in prison. Your driver’s license will also be automatically suspended as soon as you’ve been arrested. Finally, if you are convicted, you will be sentenced to either probation or conditional discharge as a matter of course. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year.
Taking this risk is, quite simply, not worth the convenience of driving home on your own with a kid in the car after you’ve had a glass of wine with dinner. You don’t want to need to call a legal professional in order to avoid years in prison because paying for an Uber is annoying.