Connecticut lawmakers are currently looking to pass stricter drunk driving laws targeted at adults convicted of driving drunk with a child in their vehicle. Connecticut is one of a small number of states that have DWI child endangerment charges, but groups like MADD are now urging lawmakers to make the offense an automatic felony.
The District of Columbia and 43 states currently have enhanced penalties for those who drive drunk with a child passenger in their vehicle, but laws vary pretty widely in severity and the definition of a child passenger. Rep. Al Adinolfi is proposing that Connecticut adapt such a law.
Adinolfi has previously attempted to pass an enhanced penalty for those who drive drunk with a child passenger, but ran up against time constraints in the state legislature. Adinolfi's current proposalis based on a New York law named after a child who died when a drunk driver flipped their vehicle. That accident also left six other girls injured.
There is clearly a sympathetic cause behind the proposal, but not everybody is on board. Critics say that Connecticut already has laws that accomplish the same goal of tougher penalties. As it is, those who drive drunk with a child in the car are already charged with risk of injury, a felony. Prosecutors do sometimes drop that charge, though, for first time offenders who are eligible for alcohol education programs.
Those facing drunk driving charges do well to consult an experienced attorney to build a strong case. Doing so will increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
Source: NBC Connecticut, "Lawmakers push for Strong DUI Charges When Kids Are in Car," Chris Coffey, February 5, 2013