When you’re three years old, you can only assert your independence in a few ways. You can choose your favorite toys or fight your bedtime, but, you cannot choose who is driving you around as you’re (hopefully) strapped into a car seat. In states like Oklahoma, DUI child endangerment laws are strict, and for good reason. Protecting children who don’t have a say in their caretaker’s level of sobriety should be an aggravating factor in any drunk driving case because children aren’t the ones who are choosing to drink and ride. That’s an adult decision that requires very “grown up” consequences.
DUI child endangerment law in Oklahoma protects children from the dangers of being in a vehicle with a drunk driver. If convicted, a DUI offender can be sentenced to up to four years in state prison, fines up to $5,000, and a earn felony record. Oklahoma also takes into consideration that another adult could be responsible for the child’s welfare: the other parent or a guardian. In that case, the same Oklahoma DUI child endangerment law applies to the other adult even if they have not been drinking, and they face the same felony charge, prison sentence and fines.
Parents and guardians of children, when you make a choice to get behind the wheel after drinking, you’re obviously putting your life at risk. You’re endangering others on the road, too. That level of danger requires consequences like car breathalyzer or ignition interlock requirements, fines and jail time. When you add your children, or any children, into the mix, you’re taking away their choice to have a safe, responsible adult with their best interests in mind. You’re robbing them of their childhood when you drink and drive, and in Oklahoma, you’ll find yourself heading directly into losing your own independence and ability to choose the freedoms you’ve obviously taken for granted.