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Ask a Trooper: DWI with children in vehicle

If a driver is arrested for "driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs" and has a child in the vehicle it would enhance the violation. Child endangerment is less than 16 years of age and greater than 36 months difference from offender. BrainerdDispatch.com Illustration

Question: What are the legal ramifications are if someone is stopped for drinking with a child in a vehicle?

Answer: If a driver is arrested for "driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs" and has a child in the vehicle it would enhance the violation. Child endangerment is less than 16 years of age and greater than 36 months difference from offender.

• First offense DWI under a 0.16: 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine.

• First offense DWI under a 0.16 with a child: 1 year in jail and/or $3,000 fine.

• First offense DWI over a 0.16: 1 year in jail and/or $3,000 fine.

• First offense DWI over a 0.16 with a child: 1 year in jail and/or $3,000 fine and vehicle forfeiture.

Minnesota's enhanced DWI enforcement and education efforts have been factors in the continued reduction of alcohol-related deaths. Still, impaired driving remains a serious threat. In the past five years (2010-2014), there were 47 drunk driving-related deaths in Minnesota, and 88 people were killed in drunk driving-related crashes in 2014 alone. In addition, each year 28,000 people are arrested in Minnesota for DWI with one in seven Minnesota drivers having a DWI on their record.

DWI applies to all vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, riding lawn mowers and golf carts.

Subsequent DWI/DUI and impaired driving offenses will result in longer potential jail time, higher fines, longer driver's license suspensions, and harsher penalties.

For a complete list of the criminal and administrative penalties you may face for subsequent DWIs, please visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) website: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/laws/Pages/impaired-driving.aspx

Help prevent impaired driving:

• Plan for a safe ride—designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.

• Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.

• Buckle up—the best defense against a drunk driver.

• Report drunk driving—call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811; on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE; or by email at neil.dickenson@state.mn.us