While any DUI in California is a serious charge, if you happen to have a minor in the car, the courts take that very seriously. Not only will you face all of the penalties of a normal DUI, but you could face enhancement charges or multiple charges. The prosecutor can charge you with the DUI enhancement of DUI with a minor. The prosecutor could also charge you with a separate “child endangerment” charge. While neither of these charges mean that your child will be immediately taken away, it will likely be reported to Child Protective Services, and they may investigate. CPS does have the authority to remove a child from a home.
The Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch reports on a woman who pleaded guilty to child abuse after leading police on a DUI chase.
25-year-old Catherine Ileana Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse and endangerment on Wednesday. Both charges are felonies. She also pleaded guilty to three counts of hit-and-run with property damage and driving under the influence. Since Gonzalez agreed to a plea deal, the misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and driving without a valid license were dismissed.
The charges stem from an incident when police tried to pull Gonzalez over on October 25th on Magnolia Street at Trask Avenue, but she refused to stop. She led police on a chase to Beach Boulevard at eastbound Garden Grove Freeway onramp. Here, her car collided with another vehicle. After the collision, her six-year-old son exited the car. She did as well, briefly.
She then reentered the vehicle and drove off with her 3-year-old child still in the vehicle. A witness to the accident collected the 6-year-old and followed her.
The pursuit ended at Garden Grove Boulevard when Gonzalez crashed her car into an electrical box.
Gonzalez was ordered to participate in a child abuser’s treatment program, a first-offender alcohol program, and to attend two self-help meetings a week. She was also sentenced to 109 days in jail, but received credit for time served while awaiting trial and was released.