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Fighting DWI and Child Abuse Charges in North Carolina

Child abuse and DWI charges often occur simultaneously in North Carolina, and this situation is more common than many people realize. As long as you have a child in your vehicle at the time of your alleged DWI charge, you will likely face additional charges of child abuse. This can be an extremely daunting prospect, as child abuse is typically viewed as a much more heinous and despicable crime than a simple DWI. How do you fight both of these charges in North Carolina?

What Counts as Child Abuse in a North Carolina DWI Case?

Generally speaking, DWI defendants will face additional charges of child abuse as long as there was a minor in their vehicle at the time of their arrest. At the very least, this may be considered a form of misdemeanor child abuse. An A1 child abuse conviction under this definition may result in up to five months in jail. Of course, this sentence would be added to any sentence related to your DWI charge. For more serious instances of child abuse, it is well within the realm of possibility to face years in prison. For example, the minor may have been injured while you were allegedly intoxicated behind the wheel.

The Definition of Child Abuse is Broader than Many Realize

A wide range of potential acts involving DWIs may fall under the general definition of child abuse in North Carolina. First of all, it is worth noting that the “minor” in question might actually be quite old. Even a teenager on the verge of adulthood will be seen as a minor or “child,” and this can result in child abuse charges stemming from DWI offenses. The driver may also be very close in age to the “child” in question. For example, a 19-year-old intoxicated driver could theoretically face child abuse charges for a DWI with a 17-year-old passenger.


While parents driving with children are perhaps the most common defendants in DWI/child abuse cases, many others may face similar charges. Drivers may even face these charges for actions during their jobs. For example, on October 17, 2023, it was reported that a school bus driver in North Carolina had been arrested on DWI and child abuse charges. According to Fox 8 News, the school bus driver crashed the vehicle after consuming alcohol, and an unspecified number of children were inside the bus at the time. The crash was extremely low-speed, as the driver essentially backed up into the side of a building while trying to park. No one was injured, but the driver was charged with four counts of child abuse – suggesting that there were four children on board at the time of the crash.


It is also worth noting that people may face child abuse charges for driving with children in non-road-legal vehicles, such as golf carts.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Defense Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Coastal South Law. We understand that there are many factors that can make a DWI worse – and child abuse allegations represent only one example. To mitigate legal consequences and pursue positive results, consider booking a consultation with us today. During this initial meeting, we can discuss the most appropriate defense strategy.


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