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Colorado Springs

Getting arrested for a DUI is already bad news, but if you happen to have a child in the car at the time, your charges become much more serious. Under Colorado law, driving drunk with a child in tow could net you charges of dependency and neglect, even child abuse. This aggravating factor can result in your DUI being upgraded to a felony. DUI and Automatic Child Abuse Charges Child abuse charges can vary in severity. Misdemeanor child abuse occurs when a person causes an injury to a child’s life or health, or permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health. This is the typical child abuse charge a person would face in a DUI. If the child suffers any injuries in a DUI-related car accident, the child abuse charge upgrades to a Class 3 felony carrying a 4-12 year prison term and/or a fine up to $750,000 dollars. A child abuse charge will also invite an investigation by the Colorado Department of Human Services, and if the investigation finds that you did indeed commit child abuse, your name is entered into the Colorado State child abuse registry, the TRAILS system. While the public does not have full access to the TRAILS system, it is used by many groups who are involved in child welfare – teachers, day cares, even parents volunteering with schools or community organizations. This is just one of many ways a child abuse charge can follow you for life. Long story short, a companion charge to a DUI can influence jurors, and conviction could result in a much higher sentence. If you have been charged with a DUI and child abuse or endangerment, you must contact a lawyer moving forward. Fighting such serious charges is a daunting task, and you need a strong ally to advocate for your defense. Listen to attorney Jake Johnson explain what to expect when calling in about DUI defense:

Understanding the Consequences: DUI with Child in Car in Colorado

Experiencing a DUI arrest is a distressing ordeal on its own. Still, the situation becomes significantly worse if you had a child in your vehicle at the time of the incident. In Colorado, driving under the influence of a child passenger can lead to charges of dependency and neglect and, in some cases, child abuse. This exacerbating factor can even elevate your DUI offense to a felony.

DUI and Automatic Child Abuse Charges

When a DUI occurs with a child in the car, it often results in child abuse charges. Colorado’s child abuse laws have varying degrees of severity. Still, in the context of a DUI, it typically involves misdemeanor child abuse. This charge is applied when a person’s actions lead to endangering a child’s life or health or placing them in a situation with a potential threat to their well-being.

However, suppose the DUI incident results in any injuries to the child. In that case, the child abuse charge escalates to a Class 3 felony. This felony entails a possible prison sentence ranging from 4 to 12 years and fines reaching up to $750,000. In such cases, the consequences become much more severe, potentially leading to long-term imprisonment.

Moreover, a child abuse charge stemming from a DUI incident initiates an investigation by the Colorado Department of Human Services. Suppose the investigation concludes that child abuse indeed occurred. In that case, your name is registered in the Colorado State child abuse registry, known as the TRAILS system. While the general public does not have direct access to the TRAILS system, it has a lasting impact on your life, potentially affecting your interactions with schools, childcare facilities, and community organizations for years to come.


In summary, when facing a DUI charge coupled with child abuse or endangerment allegations, it is imperative to seek legal counsel promptly. These grave charges can significantly sway jurors and lead to severe penalties, including extended prison sentences. To navigate such complex legal situations, having a skilled attorney by your side is essential to build a strong defense.

At Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, we understand the seriousness of DUI charges involving child abuse or endangerment. Our experienced team of attorneys specializes in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in Colorado. We are committed to advocating for your rights and providing you with the best possible defense. When facing such serious charges, it’s crucial to have a dedicated legal ally who will work tirelessly to protect your interests.

If you find yourself in the challenging situation of a DUI arrest with child abuse or endangerment charges, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to guide you through the legal process, explore all available defenses, and strive for the best possible outcome in your case. Your future and reputation are at stake, and we are here to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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