Local news outlets reported that a recent Raleigh car accident resulted in surprising charges against the driver. The most serious charge reported was child abuse; the driver had his three children, all under age 16, with him in the car.
Police placed the driver under arrest at the hospital where his sons and daughter were being treated after the crash. The police report indicated that the driver had consumed an impairing substance, but they have apparently not charged him with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They did charge him with three counts of felony serious injury by vehicle and one charge of misdemeanor child abuse.
He could face more serious charges under the circumstances. For example, rather than a DWI charge, he could face aggravated DWI solely because the children were in the car with him. If any of the children’s injuries are deemed serious, too, he could face an aggravated DWI charge. The more aggravating factors, the stiffer the sentence.
The two boys were apparently treated and released. One suffered from a “gaping head wound,” according to the warrant, as well as a cut over his eye. The other boy had a cut over his ear, scrapes and bruises. The girl was admitted with injuries to her face and upper chest.
Under North Carolina law, the child abuse charge is an A1 misdemeanor, carrying a potential sentence of 60 days in jail. Felony serious injury by vehicle is a class F felony, carrying a 13- to 16-month jail sentence. The aggravated DWI charge could mean a fine of up to $10,000 and one to three years in jail. If this is not his first conviction, the penalties are even more serious.
Source: News & Observer, “Father charged with child abuse after 2 sons, daughter hurt in Raleigh car crash,” June 10, 2013