Marietta native Brandon Allen Gay, 36, is facing a host of traffic charges after an incident on July 18. Madison Police Officers responded to reports of a driver speeding, tailgating, and recklessly driving on I-20. Upon arrival, the officers found Gay's Impala had been disabled after striking a guardrail. The car sustained substantial damage, including the back driver's side door that was practically torn off where a 6-week-old infant had been sitting. The infant's mother, Colleen P. Harrington, 36, was also a passenger in the car. Officers detained Harrington after learning that she was wanted in Cobb County.
Officers allegedly smelled alcohol when they spoke with Gay and saw an almost empty can of Four Loko in the front seat. After patting Gay down for weapons, an officer found a used syringe of what is suspected to be heroin in Gay's pocket.
Gay is facing charged of DUI refusal, DUI child endangerment, possession of an open container, possession of drugs, objects possession of drug-related objects, reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions, aggressive driving, driving without a license, and failure to maintain lane.
As a Cobb County DUI Attorney, I handle a variety of serious traffic violations, including the ones Mr. Gay is currently facing. In today's post, I will discuss DUI child endangerment.
DUI Child Endangerment
While a DUI in Cobb County is already a serious violation, the stakes become higher once a child is involved. Many states, including Georgia, have passed harsh laws that apply when a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence while children under the age of 14 are in the car. Georgia law dictates that a driver charged with DUI while transporting children will receive an additional DUI for every child that is in the car – this is called DUI Child Endangerment.
Even though they are charged together and arise from the same incident, DUI and DUI Child Endangerment are separate offenses that carry distinct penalties. Even if the driver has never been convicted of a DUI before, a conviction will be considered the second (or third, or fourth, etc.) in five years for license suspension purposes. If the driver had three children under the age of 14 in the vehicle, this would automatically be considered a fourth DUI, which is a felony under Georgia law.
A DUI child endangerment conviction will have potentially devastating effects on your life. It could jeopardize your job, lead to prison time, and even effect a domestic civil issue such as a child custody case. These penalties are why you must obtain legal assistance from a competent attorney. Your case is defendable – everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our Cobb County DUI Lawyers will work diligently to give you the best legal defense possible. If you have been charged with DUI child endangerment, call our office today.