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DUI Charge With Child in A Car

A Greenacres woman is facing DUI and child neglect charges today after police say her teenage daughter was in the vehicle with her as she drove impaired.

Greenacres police arrested Martina Cecilia Ramirez, 45, in the area of South Jog Road and 10th Avenue North Wednesday night. She is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail this afternoon in lieu of $3,000.

During the traffic stop, the affidavit says Ramirez told the officer she had been drinking coffee but not alcohol. She pointed to a 20 oz. Styrofoam coffee cup with a white lid and straw, which was sitting in a cup holder. She hesitated when the officer asked to see the cup, but eventually handed it over.

“It was not filled with coffee,” the officer wrote, “but a clear liquid that had a strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage coming from it.”

The affidavit says Ramirez had a blood alcohol level of 0.238 — nearly three times the legal limit of .08 — and she was unable to accurately complete several roadside tasks. The officer wrote that she told him she could not close her eyes without falling because of the drinks that she had.

Ramirez’ 15-year-old daughter was in the vehicle when this all happened. Full story, source

DUI Child Endangerment

In 2010, 17 percent of the children age 14 and younger who were killed in motor vehicle crashes were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes.1 Of the 211 children 0 to 14 years old who were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during 2010, 131 (62 percent) of those killed were passengers in vehicles with drivers had a BAC level of .08 or higher.2

A child in a vehicle with a drinking driver is not only at risk from the impaired driver, but also from the lack of safety restraint use (like a seat belt or child safety seat), as drinking drivers are much less likely to make sure a child is properly restrained. Specifically, in fatal crashes, sober drivers had restrained their children 30.5 percent of the time, compared with only 18 percent for drinking drivers.3

MADD believes that driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is criminal and irresponsible. Having a child in the car elevates this criminal act to child abuse.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines child abuse as:

When a child’s parent or custodian, by reason of cruelty, mental incapacity, immorality or depravity, is unfit to properly care for him or her, or neglects or refuses to provide necessary physical, affectional, medical, surgical or institutional care for him or her or is under such improper care or control as to endanger his or her morals or health.

Clearly, driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle – child endangerment – is “improper care… so as to endanger his or her morals or health” and thus constitutes child abuse.

Thus, additional sanctions should be placed on those who drive under the influence with a child in the vehicle – regular sanctions and treatment are not enough.

43 states and the District of Columbia have laws enhancing penalties for those who drive drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. The laws vary widely in severity and definition of a child passenger. For example in New York it is a felony to drive drunk with a child passenger under the age of 16. Whereas in Wisconsin, the same offense is a misdemeanor.

DUI Child Endangerment Laws in Florida

If passenger is under 18: first offense: Up to nine months in prison and a fine range from $1,000 to $2,000. An ignition interlock is required for six months too. Second offense: up to 12 months in prison and $2,000-$4,000 fine. An ignition interlocks is required for at least two years.

FL ST § 316.193 (4)

Source: http://www.madd.org/laws/child-endangerment.html

It is not illegal to drink and drive in Florida, so long as your blood
alcohol content (BAC) is not over .08 or your normal faculties are not
impaired. At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach,
we advise our clients to neither blow into a breathalyzer machine nor do
a roadside test. Why give evidence to the state if you don’t have to?

If you have submitted to a breathalyzer test and failed, that is not
the end of your case. The Intoxilzer 5,000 and Intoxilzer 8,000
breathalyzer machines used to measure BAC in Florida have significant
problems. If you have an expert witness and an experienced attorney who
can challenge the accuracy of the machine in court, the BAC evidence may
be thrown out. DUI/DWI Lawyer Andrew Stine has obtained not-guilty
verdicts due to machine failure for clients who have had blood alcohol
levels of .229 and .227.

The most important thing in DUI/DWI cases is early intervention by
your attorney. This preliminary involvement will help you avoid the
consequences of a conviction, which are very serious in Florida. We will
also represent you at your hearing before the Florida Department of
Motor Vehicles in order to protect your right to drive.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300Se habla español.

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