Child Endangerment

SECTION 56-5-2947. Child endangerment; definition; penalties; jurisdiction; evidence for taking child into protective custody.

(A) A person eighteen years of age or over is guilty of child endangerment when:

(1) the person is in violation of:

(a) Section 56-5-750;

(b) Section 56-5-2930;

(c) Section 56-5-2933; or

(d) Section 56-5-2945; and

(2) the person has one or more passengers under sixteen years of age in the motor vehicle when the violation occurs.

If more than one passenger under sixteen years of age is in the vehicle when a violation of subsection (A)(1) occurs, the person may be charged with only one violation of this section.

(B) Upon conviction the person must be punished by:

(1) a fine of not more than one-half of the maximum fine allowed for committing the violation enumerated in subsection (A)(1), when the person is fined for that offense;

(2) a term of imprisonment of not more than one-half of the maximum term of imprisonment allowed for committing the violation enumerated in subsection (A)(1), when the person is imprisoned for the offense; or

(3) both a fine and imprisonment as prescribed in items (1) and (2) when the person is fined and imprisoned for the offense.

(C) No portion of the penalty assessed under subsection (B) may be suspended or revoked and probation may not be awarded.

(D) In addition to imposing the penalties for offenses enumerated in subsection (A)(1) and the penalties contained in subsection (B), the Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend the person's driver's license for sixty days. Sections 56-1-1320 and 56-5-2990 as they relate to enrollment in an alcohol and drug safety action program and to the issuance of a provisional driver's license will not be effective until the sixty-day suspension period is completed.

(E) A person may be convicted under this section for child endangerment in addition to being convicted for an offense enumerated in subsection (A)(1).

(F) The court that has jurisdiction over an offense enumerated in subsection (A)(1) has jurisdiction over the offense of child endangerment.

(G) A first offense charge for a violation of this section may not be used as the only evidence for taking a child into protective custody pursuant to Sections 63-7-620(A) and 63-7-660.