Call Us: 202-630-0939

Dad Uses Son as Designated Driver

by | Mar 24, 2011

WREG News is reporting that William Smith of Memphis was charged with a DUI, driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance, and child endangerment after he allegedly made his 14 year-old son drive his car when he was too intoxicated to continue driving it himself. They boy crashed the car into another car at an intersection. An occupant of the second car said: “It was like the car wouldn’t stop turning and it rammed him.” After the collision, he was very surprised to see Smith’s son run out of the driver’s seat. Witnesses observed Smith in the passenger seat and described him as non-responsive, and said there was “no doubt he was intoxicated.”Smith allegedly tried to tell police that he was driving, but his other son, who was in the backseat of the car, told police that it was his older brother who had crashed the car. The 14 year-old was issued a juvenile summons.

As a Washington DC, DWI defense lawyer reading this story, I am not entirely surprised by the fact that Smith allegedly had his kids with him in the car. Actually making his son drive the car though is not at an everyday occurrence. What does happed more frequently deals with Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIIDs) aka “car breathalyzers.”

After a DUI conviction in Washington, DC a judge is permitted to require a driver to install an interlock device on his or her car. It is basically a breathalyzer attached to the car that the driver must blow into, and get a sober score, before the ignition will start. To make the devises more foolproof, the driver is required to blow into the devise whenever he or she stops. This is called a “blow and go” feature to prevent a someone with a DC DWI or DUI conviction from having a sober person blow into the breathalyzer before driving. Another safety feature requires the driver to hum while blowing to prevent the use of a hair dryer because the machine can detect vibrations unique to humans. If the driver fails the breath test, the vehicle won’t start and the DC probation department or court is notified. One of they ways drivers are trying to trying to beat the breathalyzer is by having a child ride with them and blow into the breathalyzer every time they stop. This is not only illegal; it can result in child endangerment charges in addition to a DWI.