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Woman with toddler asleep in SUV faces drunk driving charges

A Florida woman has been accused of drinking and driving. The alleged drunk driving incident occurred along Interstate 95. Police say the woman's 2-year-old son was asleep in the back seat of her sport utility vehicle while she was driving.

Reportedly, police approached the vehicle, which was stopped in the breakdown lane on the northbound side of Interstate 95. They claim the 43-year-old woman was sitting in the driver's seat of the SUV. They said the keys were in the ignition, and her son was asleep in his rear child seat. The right front tire was missing, and the tire rim was significantly damaged.

Police reportedly asked the woman if she was alright, at which point she told them she was attempting to get home. Authorities said the woman's breath smelled like alcohol; in addition, they say she had slurred speech. The interior of the vehicle was disheveled, as there was yogurt, open food and paperwork scattered across the floorboard and front passenger seat. When police asked the woman to leave the vehicle, they noted that she was unsteady on her feet; she failed a field sobriety test. She was arrested on multiple charges, including DUI, DUI causing damage to property, and child neglect.

As the drunk driving case moves forward in Florida, the woman might be offered a chance, alongside her defense counsel, to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution. If a plea agreement is offered, this must be weighed against the potential outcome of going to trial on the merits. In this manner, the defendant has the opportunity to choose which option best suits the specific circumstances. This particular case is complicated by the accusation of child neglect, meaning that a guilty verdict -- if obtained -- could also have consequences with regard to the woman's parental rights.

Source: local10.com, "Woman arrested on suspicion of DUI while 2-year-old asleep in SUV", Peter Burke, March 7, 2016

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