An Illinois grandmother recently received 12 years in prison for reportedly being drunk when she picked up her granddaughter from daycare.
Now keep in mind: drunk driving under any circumstances is a serious offense. It’s considered especially serious when you are caught with a minor child in the vehicle.
Typically, though, our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys know that such an offense is generally not going to warrant a stiff penalty – particularly if there was no crash, no property damage, no injuries and no death.
However, for this individual, this conviction marked her seventh for drunk driving. Anytime you are facing a DUI charge when you have multiple prior DUI convictions, there is no way you can gamble with your future.
You are likely facing a felony if you’ve had several previous DUI convictions and have been arrested again. You simply can’t take the chance of having a defense team that isn’t fully committed to your case.
In this situation, the defendant could have faced up to three decades behind bars. She insisted she had not been intoxicated when she arrived to pick up her 1-year-old granddaughter from daycare at a Chicago suburb. She said her granddaughter was buckled in properly and safely and she posed no risk to other motorists.
However, police painted a different picture. Day care workers had called 911 after the grandmother left the premises, saying she appeared drunk and had the infant in her vehicle. Officers who stopped her said the child was buckled into the seat properly, but the car seat was not properly installed.
Police said she failed field sobriety tests and was unable to walk properly. A breathalyzer test was administered, but her breaths were reportedly insufficient to render an accurate reading.
Prosecutors called seven witnesses to events that day, each suggesting she had been drinking.
Testimony given during the trial revealed the defendant had or used to have a serious drinking problem. In addition to the prior drunk driving convictions, there had been a number of other alcohol-related contacts the defendant had with authorities. For example, in 2001, her then-7-year-old daughter called 911 when she found her mother unable to move on the floor of a hotel bedroom. Empty jugs of wine and beer bottles were found at the scene.
However, it’s worth noting that her most recent DUI conviction was back in 1995. She had a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash, and numerous individuals testified on her behalf that she was heavily involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and had been sober for a number of years.
In the end, however, a jury convicted her and the judge called the evidence against her “overwhelming.”
In Alabama, per Alabama Code 32-5A-191, a person convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI offense are deemed guilty of a Class C felony, accompanied by the following penalties:
- A fine ranging between $4,100 and $10,100;
- A mandatory minimum sentence of at least one year and one day (all but 10 days of which could be suspended at the judge’s discretion, if a chemical dependency program is successfully completed);
- A maximum of up to 10 years in prison;
- The potential for house arrest and electronic surveillance for a period of time;
- A five-year license suspension.
All of this, of course, assumes that you weren’t involved in a crash resulting in property damage, injury or death. Any one of these scenarios could result in additional penalties.