Interviewer: What about if there are children in your car? Are there simple things that can happen that would be considered endangerment? Let’s say you don’t have the kids in their car seats or you get into an accident and the state just shows you weren’t being careful enough driving.
Munoz: If you have children in your car and it’s alleged that a person’s driving recklessly or endangers a child, they can always charge it against a child and/or passenger. But what becomes very, very serious is if you have a child in your vehicle and they charge you with endangering a child or aggravated assault, or even a homicide because of a collision.
The state will add a different allegation which is essentially considered dangerous crime against children, known as DCAC. This allegation is filed because a child is in a vehicle or in another vehicle that’s involved in a collision.
The range of penalties and the prison sentence can be very, very high. And the ranges are mandatory, meaning if a person’s convicted of hurting a child that’s under 15, then a judge’s hands are tied and the judge will have to give specific lengthy prison sentences under the law.
Interviewer: So if you get into an accident with someone and you’re impaired, you don’t know who’s in the other car, but if there’s children in the other car that are hurt or killed, then you’re looking at much more serious penalties, even if you had no idea children were involved.
Munoz: Exactly. The law says a person has to basically take their victims as they find them. It doesn’t matter if you knew there was kids in the car or not, if kids are hurt in one of these collisions, then yes, you are going to get charged and you’re looking at a more severe penalty. When someone finds themselves in a situation like this, they must have good defense counsel to help them out or they’re facing extremely serious penalties.