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Drinking and Driving? Leave the Kids at Home

It should just be common sense (although many of our laws are written for the least sensible among us), but driving drunk while your child is in the car is a horrible idea. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a minor on board can add an additional charge of child endangerment.

It also can be deadly.

The latest reported DUI violation in which a minor was in the car (AP) involves a LaPorte, Indiana man whose poor judgement resulted in the deaths of his 14-year-old daughter and 33-year-old cousin. Police say he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.29, more than three-and-a-half times the legal limit.

But 39-year-old Donald Tharp also was driving at high speeds through a winding county road covered with snow. 

Tharp pleaded guilty to two counts of felony DUI causing death and could spend 20 years in prison after his sentencing hearing on Jan. 29. Nearby LaPorte of course is in Indiana, which has its own laws to deal with DUI offenses, but this story sheds light on the issue nevertheless.

As in most states, simply being busted for a DUI in Illinois (absent accidents or injuries) is grounds for a child endangerment charge if a child under the age of 16 is in the car.

An Illinois DUI Attorney can provide more detailed analysis of how Illinois law treats DUI offenses involving minors. And if you must tie one on before getting behind the wheel, please leave your children in a safer place.