Driving Drunk with a Child Under 14 in Massachusetts Carries Stiff Penalties

A recent news report involving a 10 year old Rhode Island boy who called 911 to report that his father was driving on Route 95 while under the influence emphasizes how seriously Massachusetts penalizes drivers who are driving drunk with children under 14 in the car. In that story, the Rhode Island father allegedly caused a rollover accident that sent another driver to the hospital. Fortunately, the father’s two children (the 10 year old boy and his 12 year old sister) only suffered lacerations because of the accident.

In Massachusetts, if a driver who is operating under the influence also has a child under 14 in the car, that driver can also be charged with “child endangerment while operating a vehicle under the influence.”  This child endangerment charge is in addition to the operating under the influence charge. Child endangerment while operating under the influence carries stiff penalties that can include for first time offenders a fine of between $1,000-$5,000, a prison sentence of between 90 days to 2 1/2 years, and loss of license for 1 year.

Conduct like this may also put the family at risk of an investigation by the Department of Children & Family services. The DCF is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse and neglect in Massachusetts.

Not only is driving drunk with your children placing them in extreme danger and exposing you to serious legal penalties, in this writer’s opinion (who is a father himself) it is just plain stupid.

Read more here.

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