›››The following content is an excerpt from a live interview with Richard Jacobs founder of my DUI Attorney dot org. The interview has been transcribed and contains information for educational purposes only. Please call Michael Munoz to get legal advice for your particular situation
Interviewer: Going back to endangerment, what that brings up to my mind is; would you be charged with that if you had passengers and you were in an accident and you were at fault or if you had alcohol or drugs and you either had minors in the car or passengers?
Munoz: Yes, and that’s a great question. Matter of fact, it’s very common in Maricopa County that the state will charge the driver with either endangerment, aggravated assault, or even homicide if any of their passengers risk being hurt, are hurt, or actually die. The passengers are always included in those charges. So I have seen situations as a prosecutor when I was there, where the defendant was racing, is impaired by alcohol, gets in a collision, and everyone lives except his passenger dies and these are situations where the state will file homicide charges for killing his own passenger, even if the passenger’s family does not want the charges to be filed.
Interviewer: What about if there’s children in the 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. That kind of stuff.
Munoz: Oh, yes. 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 a 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. They will add a different allegation and that is a legal allegation in Arizona and it’s essentially considered a crime that’s a dangerous crime against children. The acronym is DCAC. When this allegation is filed because a child is in a vehicle or in another vehicle that’s involved in a collision the range of penalty prison wise is 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 prison sentences per the law.