DUI With Children In The Car

Learn About California Vehicle Code 23572 VC

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By: Diana Aizman
Founding Attorney at Aizman law Firm

If you are arrested in California for DUI and you have a child passenger in the car under the age of 14, you may face both

  • A DUI charge, and
  • A charge for misdemeanor child endangerment.

The sentencing enhancement for child endangerment is codified in California Vehicle Code 23572 vc1 If you are a first-time DUI offender who is arrested with a minor in your car, you may have to serve up to 6 months in jail for the DUI charge plus an enhanced penalty of 48 hours in jail for the sentencing enhancement.2 In DUI cases where there is a minor under age 14 in the car, the prosecutor in the case may charge the driver with the DUI sentencing enhancement or with a separate charge of child endangerment3 under California Penal Code Section 273(a) or both.4

DUI with A Child Passenger Frequently Asked Questions

1) Could I Go to Jail For a Child Endangerment Conviction & What Is The Penalty?

Yes. Misdemeanor child endangerment in California is punishable by a sentence of up to 1 year in jail. Felony child endangerment in California is punishable by 2 to 6 years in state prison.

2) Does The Prosecutor Have To Prove Certain Things to Convict Me of DUI and Use the Sentencing Enhancement?

Yes. The prosecutor must prove both that: (1) you were driving while you were intoxicated and that (2) you had a minor under the age of 14 in the car while you were driving.

Additional Factors the Prosecutor will Consider

  • Whether you intended to harm the child or children.
  • Your Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC when you were tested.
  • Your driving patterns prior to the police officer stopping your vehicle.

The sentencing enhancement can only be applied if you have been convicted of violating vehicle code 23152 VC driving under the influence.  Hiring a skilled DUI Defense Attorney could help with a potential dismissal of the case or a plea bargain to a lesser charge such as a wet reckless or exhibition of speed depending on the facts of your case.

3) Can Jail Time Be Avoided If I Am Convicted of DUI with a Child Passenger And Child Endangerment?

No. Jail time cannot be avoided if the prosecutor proves that you willfully endangered a child by driving under the influence with a child in your car under vehicle code 23572 vc.

4) If I Have Two Prior DUI Convictions, How Long Could I Have To Go To Jail, If I Am Convicted of DUI With an Enhanced Penalty for A Passenger Under 14?

If you have two prior DUI convictions and your third DUI offense occurred with a minor passenger under the age of 14 in the car, you could face an additional 30 days in jail if the prosecutor charged you with the sentencing enhancement.

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Hiring An Attorney

The state of California has implemented tough drunk driving laws, and some DUI offenders may be sentenced with both DUI and child endangerment if they have a child passenger who is under the age of 14 in the car with them when they are arrested. In many cases like these, a skilled DUI attorney may be able to get the DUI charge against the driver reduced to a lesser offense so that the sentencing enhancement does not apply.

At the Aizman Law Firm, our attorneys can help you if you are facing a sentencing enhancement in a DUI case. If you need to speak to an attorney about your case, please call our office at: (818) 351-9555.

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 


  1. California Vehicle Code 23572 VC; If any person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and a minor under 14 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the court shall impose the following penalties in addition to any other penalty prescribed: []
  2. Vehicle Code 23152(1); If the person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 punishable under Section 23536, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 48 continuous hours in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted, no part of which shall be stayed []
  3. See Penal Code Section 273(a) If a parent of a minor child willfully omits, without lawful excuse, to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter or medical attendance, or other remedial care for his or her child, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment. If a court of competent jurisdiction has made a final adjudication in either a civil or a criminal action that a person is the parent of a minor child and the person has notice of such adjudication and he or she then willfully omits, without lawful excuse, to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter, medical attendance or other remedial care for his or her child, this conduct is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or in a state prison for a determinate term of one year and one day, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both such fine and imprisonment. This statute shall not be construed so as to relieve such parent from the criminal liability defined herein for such omission merely because the other parent of such child is legally entitled to the custody of such child nor because the other parent of such child or any other person or organization voluntarily or involuntarily furnishes such necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical attendance or other remedial care for such child or undertakes to do so. []
  4. Vehicle Code 23572© No punishment enhancement shall be imposed pursuant to this section if the person is also convicted of a violation of Section 273(a) of the Penal Code arising out of the same facts and incident []

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