Police officers arrested a Bronx man and a Jersey City woman who had been driving drunk with an eight-year-old girl in the back seat one afternoon last month. Hudson County sheriff’s officer Tara Stucy charged Alvaro G. Larrea, 61, and his partner, Altamece Lane, 45, with driving while under the influence of alcohol, as well as endangering the welfare of a minor child. The combined charges may lead to prolonged jail time and more severe fines and penalties for the couple, drunk driving attorneys in New Jersey say.
According to the arresting officer’s report, Larrea, who was driving, swerved to avoid the sheriff’s vehicle and was pulled over. At the traffic stop, Officer Tara Stucy reported that the driver’s breath smelled like liquor, as did Lane’s, and she found an empty bottle of vodka in his pocket. She also discovered a half-empty bottle of rum on the floor of the car. Larrea failed a field sobriety test, and was arrested for drunk driving. His other charges included driving with a suspended license, and an unsafe lane change.
Lane told Stucy that the young girl riding in the car with them was her niece, and the girl’s mother was called to take custody. Officers also called the state Department of Children and Family Services to let them know about the incident, and the danger presented to the girl. Lane was charged with endangering the welfare of the child, by allowing her to ride in a car with a drunk driver behind the wheel.
Placing your child in danger has serious repercussions in New Jersey, and combining criminal activity with childcare further ratchets up the potential consequences for parents and guardians. Whenever a child is placed in a situation that threatens or harms his or her wellbeing, either emotionally, mentally, or physically, those responsible for the child can face several years of jail time, hefty fines, and possibly even loss of custody. One of the most dangerous scenarios for a child is one in which a caretaker has had too much to drink or is otherwise intoxicated, criminal attorneys in New Jersey say, and avoiding those circumstances can help protect you and your child from harm.
Although parents or caretakers may not necessarily intend to place a child in danger, any scenario that involves breaking the law or unsafe behavior can be considered endangerment. Furthermore, most child endangerment charges stem from an investigation into another criminal act, such as driving drunk. Carelessness in guarding against these situations can lead to serious charges.
Protecting children is a full-time job for parents and guardians, and those who neglect their responsibilities risk danger to the child and serious repercussions for themselves. At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our drunk driving and criminal attorneys serve persons who are facing combined charges and need representation and legal advice.