Minnesota law makes driving while a child under the age of 16 in a vehicle and aggravating factor if the driver is accused of drunk driving. Aggravating factors allow authorities to enhance DWI charges, increasing the level of the charge, increasing the criminal consequences and making the administrative consequences, such as a license revocation, even more cumbersome.
Authorities will often file enhanced DWI charges against a driver accused of driving drunk with a child in the car-but at the same time, officials will also often add on a child endangerment charge in the DWI case.
A different twist to DWI charges and a child endangerment claim arose recently in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Law enforcement claims that a person called person called police around 8:00 in the morning one day last December to report that the child of a neighbor showed up at her apartment door.
The resident claims that the 6-year-old boy told her that his mother was not at home, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The resident apparently called 911. Police responded to the Minnetonka apartment building, apparently to investigate the missing mom report.
While police were in the apartment complex, law enforcement claims that a 26-year-old woman came walking down the hall around 8:30 that morning. Police claim that the woman smelled of alcohol and was the 6-year-old boy’s mother. Authorities spoke with the woman and claim she said that she had been drinking at a friend’s home. Law enforcement suspected that the woman had been driving and opened a DWI investigation.
The woman was taken into custody on suspicion of DWI and authorities claim that a blood test taken less than an hour after she was found in the hall returned a result of 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. The woman has been charged in Hennepin County with DWI and an additional charge of gross misdemeanor child endangerment, alleging that she had left her child home alone while drinking with a friend.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Charges: Minnetonka mom admits leaving son, 6, home alone overnight while she got drunk,” Paul Walsh, March 19, 2013