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Michigan DUI/OWI With a Child in the Car

Daniel J. Larin, P.C. Aug. 4, 2023

In Michigan, operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense. A person convicted of DUI or OWI in the state may face devastating penalties, including massive fines, jail time, license suspension, and other serious, life-altering consequences. 

You’ll receive harsher punishments if you have a minor as a passenger in the car at the time of the offense.  If the driver has a prior drinking and driving conviction it could be a felony. Additionally, depending on the surrounding circumstances of your case, Children's Protective Services (CPS) may get involved, and your child may even get removed from your care. 

At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we're committed to offering experienced legal guidance and skilled representation to clients in their DUI/OWI cases. Our dependable defense attorney can investigate your case details and enlighten you about the implications of CPS involvement. Our firm proudly serves clients across Birmingham, Michigan, and the surrounding areas of Rochester Hills, Oakland County, Wayne County, and Macomb County. 

Will CPS Get Involved if I Get a DUI/OWI With My Child in the Car? 

According to statistics from the Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit, there were 19,369 total OWI-related arrests statewide in 2021. In Michigan, a person may be arrested and charged with OWI for operating a motor vehicle while: 

  • having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08% 

  • under the influence of a controlled substance or an alcoholic liquor 

  • having consumed any amount of illicit drugs or controlled substances 

Essentially, the punishment of an OWI conviction may vary depending on the mitigating or aggravating circumstances. For instance, you would face additional penalties if you had a child passenger – a person under 16 years old – in your vehicle at the time of the offense or arrest. 

In addition, the arresting officer will inform the Children's Protective Services (CPS) about the situation. Unfortunately, the involvement of the Michigan Department of Children and Families or CPS may lead to a CPS investigation. 

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, you may be facing criminal charges for child endangerment or child abuse. You may end up losing your child custody rights and other parenting privileges. An experienced attorney can outline a solid defense to protect your rights and prevent the CPS from removing your child from your care or home. 

Definition of "Child Abuse" Under Michigan Law 

According to Michigan Law, a person is guilty of child abuse if he or she knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly commits an act which causes harm or poses an unreasonable risk of physical or mental harm or injury to a child. Depending on the surrounding circumstances, child abuse may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. 

If you or someone close to you has recently been arrested or indicted for drunk driving involving a child passenger under 16 years, you should consult a criminal traffic defense attorney as soon as possible. Your legal counsel can fully explain your potential penalties and ramifications and help strategize your defense. 

Possible Consequences 

In the state of Michigan, OWI with minor passenger allegations usually results in far-reaching punishments. A defendant convicted of such an offense may be subject to the following penalties and ramifications: 

  • substantial fines and court fees 

  • prison sentences (ranging from months to years) 

  • probation

  • criminal record 

  • driver's license suspension or revocation 

  • loss of parenting privileges, child custody rights, and parenting time. 

  • exclusion from traveling to Canada for up to 10 years 

  • increased difficulty in getting public benefits or government assistance. 

  • increased difficulty in getting accommodation and employment. 

  • increased auto insurance premium 

  • damage to familial and professional relationships 

A reliable defense attorney can determine the best way to fight your charges and help you avoid the devastating consequences of a criminal conviction

Looking for Legal Representation? We Can Help. 

Defending your OWI and child abuse accusation without skilled representation and guidance could result in getting convicted and suffering the maximum punishments. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction can jeopardize your personal reputation, driving privileges, liberty, and other future opportunities.  

With more than 25 years of extensive legal and trial experience, Daniel Larin has what it takes to represent clients in their drunk driving and child endangerment cases.  

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a reliable traffic defense attorney. We can offer you the aggressive representation and strong legal counsel you need in your case, and we proudly serve clients across Birmingham, Michigan, and the surrounding areas.