Driving while intoxicated with a passenger in the vehicle that is a minor can lead to multiple criminal charges in New Hampshire. Recently, The Nashua Telegraph reported that a child care worker in Merrimack, NH was arrested for aggravated DWI after showing up at her job under the influence of alcohol. Police were contacted after 29-year-old Casey Lever returned to work from her lunch break visibly intoxicated. To make matters worse, Lever was employed at a childcare center. The childcare center's director noticed that Lever appeared drunk and immediately asked her to leave. Police were then contacted and Lever was eventually stopped.
At the time of the police stop, Lever was driving with her five-year-old daughter in the vehicle. The childcare center also told police that she had been caring for 3 young children earlier in the day. Lever was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 and was charged with aggravated DWI and 4 counts of endangering a minor.
According to New Hampshire law 265-A:3, a person can be charged with aggravated DWI for operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration over the legal limit or while under the influence of a drug and carrying a passenger who is under the age of 16. An aggravated DWI charge can also arise from driving with an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more. In this situation, Lever was accused of both. Additionally, according to RSA 639:3 I:
A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child or incompetent if he knowingly endangers the welfare of a child under 18 years of age or of an incompetent person by purposely violating a duty of care, protection or support he owes to such child or incompetent, or by inducing such child or incompetent to engage in conduct that endangers his health or safety.
By caring for the three young children at her job and for driving with her five-year-old daughter in the vehicle while impaired, Lever is believed to have violated her duty of care. In New Hampshire each minor under the age of 18 that is involved in a case of endangering a child will result in an additional charge. Hence, Lever was also charged with 4 counts of endangering a minor.
Though both endangering a minor and aggravated DUI involving a passenger under 16 are both misdemeanor offenses, this does not mean that Lever will not face serious penalties if she is found guilty. If convicted for aggravated DWI, she faces a fine of at least $750, 17 days of jail, installation of an ignition interlock device, and license suspension of 18 months to 2 years. A conviction for endangerment of a child can result in additional fines, probation and even jail time. Perhaps one of the most serious consequences of a conviction for Lever would be the addition of DWI and engagement of a child to her criminal record. Jobs in childcare usually perform background checks on candidates. The presence of these types of convictions on a record would most certainly prevent the candidate from being hired.
If you find yourself facing charges for aggravated DWI or any type of child endangerment offense, contact the New Hampshire defense attorney as soon as possible.