If you are caught driving under the influence / DUI and have a child in the vehicle who is under the age of 18, you may be charged with the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child carries severe penalties under the state’s sentencing guidelines. These penalties are above and beyond what you would be facing for the DUI itself. While there are different elements for the crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child offense, case law has supported the proposition that driving DUI with a child in the vehicle is enough to prove those added elements of the Endangering the Welfare of a Child offense.
Being convicted of Endangering the Welfare of a Child based on a DUI charge can create irreparable consequences to you – personally and professionally – act fast.
As with any case, specific arguments based on the circumstances and factual scenario dictate the likelihood of conviction. This makes it crucial to thoroughly investigate your case and formulate a strong defense strategy if you are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child due to a DUI / driving under the influence offense. Having an Endangering the Welfare of a Child offense on your record can create irreparable consequences to your reputation and can potentially create clearance issues if you are an individual who works with children professionally.
The language of Section 4304 the Endangering Welfare of Children statute
- 4304. Endangering welfare of children.
(a) Offense defined.–
(1) A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age, or a person that employs or supervises such a person, commits an offense if he knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support.
(2) A person commits an offense if the person, in an official capacity, prevents or interferes with the making of a report of suspected child abuse under 23 Pa.C.S. Ch. 63 (relating to child protective services).
(3) As used in this subsection, the term “person supervising the welfare of a child” means a person other than a parent or guardian that provides care, education, training or control of a child.
(1) Except as provided under paragraph (2), the following apply:
(i) An offense under this section constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(ii) If the actor engaged in a course of conduct of endangering the welfare of a child, the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree.
(iii) If, in the commission of the offense under subsection (a)(1), the actor created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury, the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree.
(iv) If the actor’s conduct under subsection (a)(1) created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury and was part of a course of conduct, the offense constitutes a felony of the second degree.
(2) The grading of an offense under this section shall be increased one grade if, at the time of the commission of the offense, the child was under six years of age.
The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.
Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale