Important Legal Information About DUI Child Endangerment


DUI Child Endangerment pursuant to Penal Code  § 273a(a) is considered a “wobbler”, punishable by up to one year in the county jail, or two, four, or six years in state prison. Penal Code § 273a(b) is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail.

When probation is granted on a Penal Code § 273a conviction, there are minimum mandatory probation terms set forth in Penal Code § 273a(c), though some or all of these conditions may be waived in the interests of justice under Penal Code § 273a(c)(5).

Vehicle Code § 23572 (formerly CVC § 23194) provides for a consecutive sentence enhancement in CVC § 23152 cases where a minor under the age of 14 was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

Orange County DUI Child Endangerment
Orange County DUI Child Endangerment Defense Attorney

The enhancement must be pled and proven, (or admitted), and because the Legislature specifies in the Vehicle Code when a sentence enhancement may be multiplied for each victim (e.g., CVC § 23558 specifies a one-year enhancement for each injured victim up to a maximum of three years), the fact that it did not do so in CVC § 23572 makes it presumptively limited under statutory rules of construction and the Rule of Lenity to a single enhancement no matter how many persons under the age of 14 were passengers.

No portion of the enhancement may be stayed and it shall be imposed whether probation is granted or not.

The following sanctions typically apply as a minimum and most come with the additional requirement of a 52-week or 1 year Parenting Class to teach such offenders about the perils of drinking and driving with children in the vehicle:

First Offense – punishable under CVC § 23536 (includes CVC § 23538): 48 hours jail (continuous custody)

Second Offense – punishable under CVC § 23540 (includes CVC § 23542): 10 days county jail

Third Offense – punishable under CVC § 23546 (includes CVC § 23548):30 days county jail

Fourth Offense or More – punishable under CVC § 23550 (includes CVC § 23552): 90 days county jail