A Kansas woman was recently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence for the fifth time. Unfortunately, fifth- time DUIs are not uncommon. However, what makes this arrest unusual is that, for 31-year-old Mary Elizabeth Womack, it was the fourth time that she was arrested for driving under the influence with children in her car.
The most recent arrest occurred on Saturday, February 21st. When Womack was stopped, she had two children in the car with her. What’s more, she also had an ignition interlock device installed in her vehicle.
Womack’s previous DUI convictions in which children were found in her car occurred in February 5th, 2003, July 20th, 2009, and February 15th, 2010. However, the child endangerment charges were dismissed in these cases as part of her plea deals. Womack’s only DUI conviction in which she didn’t have a child in the car occurred on October 17th, 2004.
In the current case Womack has been charged with DUI, obstruction of the legal process, two counts of endangering a child, driving without an interlock device, and battery.
Had Womack’s arrest been here in California, she’d be looking at an additional 90 days in jail under California’s DUI child endangerment enhancements.
In California, if you have children under the age of 14 in the car at the time you are caught driving under the influence, the prosecution can also charge you with a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23572; California DUI child endangerment. The penalties under this section are in addition to any penalties associated with the California DUI.
A first time DUI conviction where a minor under the age of 14 is in the car will bring an additional 48 hours in a county jail. A second time DUI conviction will bring an additional 10 days in jail. A third time will bring an additional 30 days in jail. A fourth will bring an additional 90 days. Furthermore, these penalties are to be served consecutively, not concurrently with the underlying DUI penalties.