Atlanta, GA- A Jonesboro woman is facing a DUI and several charges of child endangerment after police found seven children covered in marijuana in her vehicle.
Henry County police said they stopped Krystal Tierra Griffis, 30, after she made an erratic jerking motion as she tried to enter I-75 South at Hudson Bridge Road just after 2 a.m. on May 24th. During the stop, police noticed an odor of alcohol on Griffiths’ breath and the smell of fresh marijuana emanating from her vehicle, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.
Police said that Griffis was driving with her boyfriend Darius Antonio Edwards, 27, in the passenger seat and seven children between the ages of 10 months and 12 years-old in the backseat and cargo area of the SUV. According to the police report, none of the children including the infant were properly restrained. The children belong to both Griffiths and Edwards.
When they initially stopped her, Griffis gave police a false name and address but they discovered that and learned she was driving on a suspended license.
Upon searching her SUV, police found marijuana debris throughout the SUV and scattered in the children’s hair and clothing. Police suspect that the two adults attempted to throw the marijuana out of the window but it blew back into the vehicle, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Griffis admitted to police she had two drinks at a barbeque earlier that night. She failed field sobriety tests and her blood alcohol content was .087, slightly over the legal limit.
Griffis was charged with DUI, possession of marijuana, driving with a suspended license, several counts of seat belt and child restraint violations and seven counts of child endangerment. Edwards was charged for possession of marijuana.
In Georgia, a child endangerment can carry a jail term of up to 12 months. That is on top of the penalties for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
The penalties or driving under the influence with children in the car are so harsh because it is a serious issue. In a recent study, researchers at the Erie Family Health Center in Chicago found that between 2001 and 2010, 2,334 children died in drunken driving accidents. What’s even more shocking is that in 65 percent of those accidents, the drunken driver was the parent. Additionally, the more intoxicated the parent, the less likely they were to use safety belts and child restraints.
Driving under the influence is a serious charge regardless, but when other charges, such as child endangerment, are tacked onto a DUI charge it is critical that the accused is represented by a DUI attorney from the very start. There is a difference between willful endangerment and making simple mistake so it is necessary to enlist the services of someone well-versed in DUI laws to negate the severe penalties that accompany a DUI with a minor child charge. A DUI attorney is capable of evaluating the circumstances of each client’s arrest and developing a defense strategy to negate some of the more serious consequences of a DUI conviction.