Child behind wheel, but Tennessee couple still charged with DUI

Some people will go to great lengths to avoid a drunk driving arrest. In the case of a Tennessee pair, they apparently saw relying on a sober driver as a wise way to get around a possible DUI problem. However, when that sober driver is 11 years old, that isn’t a good — or legal — idea.

Tennessee officials responded to the scene of a car accident last week. The crash involved one vehicle, a house, a pair of babysitters and a child driver. Last Monday, police found the car crashed into the side of a home and also found the older couple who was willing to answer a lot of important questions.

This drunk driving case presents a couple of examples of what not to do. Finding a sober driver if someone believes that he is too impaired to drive is a smart option. But putting a vehicle in the hands of a child is not the way to wisely execute that decision. Also, when the authorities arrive at the scene or initiate an investigation, suspects should be cautious about what they say and do.

News reports indicate that both suspects, ages 49 and 52, were candid with police about their role in the incident and their drinking. They admitted that they let the child take the wheel while one of them tried to operate the gas and brake pedals. At least one of the criminal defendants went so far as to confess that he was drunk at the time of the incident.

Those are incriminating statements. Whether a suspect wants to make such statements is up to him, but he should postpone making such statements until he’s had the chance to work with an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Both suspects face criminal charges related to drunk driving and child endangerment. No one was injured in the accident, but the defendants and others in similar situations still need the guidance of a criminal defense attorney.

Source: WBTW, “Babysitters charged with DUI after 11-year-old driver hits house,” May 16, 2013

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