Getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can be an expensive, embarrassing and life-altering ordeal that is magnified when minors are in the vehicle.

A DUI charge while a minor is in the car is considered a greater offense than a DUI committed when only adults are in the vehicle, it is known as an enhanced DUI. The penalty for a DUI doubles at each level when a minor is in the vehicle. What would have been a maximum $1,000 fine becomes a minimum $1,000 fine. The amounts of community service and probation mandated by law do not change. However, the amount of jail time that a judge can order is influenced by the presence of a minor in the vehicle. Imprisonment on your first offense can be up to six months, unless there was a minor in the car, in which case it jumps up to nine months.

Most importantly, even on a first time DUI with a minor in the vehicle, a mandatory ignition interlock device is imposed by the Court for a minimum of six months.

The rationale behind the increased penalties are that people driving under the influence with a minor in the car, like their children, is more aggravating.

There are many defenses to DUI and you should absolutely consult with an experienced attorney before going to Court and representing yourself.