Involving Your Child in a Crime? Bad Idea.

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 07, 2015 | Last updated on November 29, 2021

Who better to be your getaway driver than your own 13-year-old son? You don't even have to pay him!

An inebriated Albuquerque man, Sergio Barrientos-Hinojosa, allegedly had his 13-year-old son drive him to a gas station to buy beer. That's not a good start, even if he didn't want a DUI. While leaving the station, Barrientos-Hinojosa got into an argument with another customer and started shooting a gun he retrieved from his car. Investigators report that he then ordered his son to hit the gas and make a break for it, while he busily fired his gun in the air.

The two didn't get very far though. Police at a nearby DUI checkpoint stopped the car, and arrested the father. Doesn't he know that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself?

Crime = Child Abuse

Jokes aside, involving your child in a crime is very dangerous and irresponsible. In additions to weapons charges, Barrientos-Hinojosa was charged with child abuse.

In New Mexico, the law states, "Abuse of a child consists of a person knowingly ... permitting a child to be placed in a situation that may endanger the child's life or health." It would be hard for Barrientos-Hinojosa to argue that his son wasn't in any danger. The kid was driving a car while bullets were flying around!

Luckily for Barrientos-Hinojosa, his son was not injured. Abuse of a child that does not result in death or great bodily harm is only a third degree felony, punishable by three years in prison. If the car had crashed, and his son suffered great bodily injury, Barrientos-Hinojosa could face up to 18 years in prison for a first degree felony.

Harsher Punishment

New Mexico's child abuse laws are more lenient than some other states' laws.

In Michigan, another father proudly boasted that his daughter drove him to the gas station. Again, he was too drunk to drive. The 9-year-old girl had to sit in a booster seat to reach the steering wheel and gas pedal! Luckily, somebody called the police to report the child driver.

In Michigan, it is a felony to "knowingly or intentionally commit an act likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to a child regardless of whether harm results." The father faced up to 10 years in prison for the felony child abuse charge. If his daughter was harmed, the father could have been sentenced to life in prison.

Having a child be your designated driver kind of defeats the point. If you're drunk, or say, planning a robbery, at least find an adult getaway driver.

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