All Missouri DUI charges are serious and must be treated as the urgent legal matters that they are. Even a first-time offender may experience consequences that could impact them for years to come in the event that they are convicted of the impaired driving charges they face. This is perhaps especially true in the event that an aggravating factor plays a role in their case.
An aggravating factor is an element of someone’s circumstances that render a DUI situation more serious than it would otherwise be. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is higher than the legal limit is certainly a reason for concern. But when aggravating factors play a role in someone’s case, they could face much more serious consequences than they would if their “only” offense was operating a vehicle with an unacceptably high BAC.
DUI with a minor passenger in Missouri
When an adult operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Missouri and they are transporting a minor passenger under the age of 17 at the time of an arrest, they can be charged with both an impaired driving infraction and endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.
This offense is “ordinarily” charged as a class D felony. However, that classification will escalate in the event that the child suffers harm while in a vehicle with an impaired motorist. Although some DUI aggravating factors only increase the potential penalty for a DUI offense, this particular aggravating factor can lead to a separate, additional charge. As a result, it is particularly important that anyone who is facing this set of charges seeks legal guidance as soon as they are able.