As a parent, you have probably taught your teen the importance of not drinking and driving. Even if you have not had this specific conversation at home, it is taught in the schools from grade school. No parent wants to find out that their child has been charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, but unfortunately it happens. When you do, there are some really important things that you need to do. What you do, as well as how quickly you get things done, will help to determine the outcome of your child's case.
Call A DUI Attorney
The first thing you want to do following your child's charge is to contact a qualified DUI attorney at a law firm such as Thomas & Associates, PC. They will be able to review your child's case and give you advice based on their specific case. Although laws vary from state to state, most states have a zero tolerance policy, which means that any level of alcohol in your child's system can result in them being charged. This is a very serious charge and can have far-reaching implications for your child. Some of the court's penalties may include:
- Suspension of their driving privileges up to their 21st birthday.
- Arrest and jail time
- Community service
- Drug treatment program
If there was any property damage or injury, or if your child has an elevated blood alcohol level, the penalties could be even more severe.
In the community, they may face even more consequences. Their criminal record may cost them their summer job, their spot on their sports team, or even impact their ability to get in the college of their choice.
Educate Your Child
Would you be surprised to find out that 33% of all high school students drank some amount of alcohol during the last 30 days? Did you know that approximately 20% of those teens who was in a moving motor vehicle in which the driver had been drinking? Underage teens consume 11% of all alcohol drunk in the U.S. Your child may not be as surprised as you are at the statistics. Depending on their demographics and who their friends are, they may be exposed to even more situations than this.
Although you may be too late to prevent the first DUI, you are not too late to prevent another one. Educate your child on the facts and dangers involved with drinking and driving. Don't brush the first occurrence under the rug—make sure that they learn something from it. Make sure they understand how your soaring insurance rates, attorney bills, court costs, and other associated fees are going to impact your family's budget. Make sure that they understand that you have very clear rules about this behavior. Some of these should include:
- They will not consume any alcohol until they are 21 years old
- They will not stay at parties if alcohol is being served
- They are not to get in a vehicle if the driver has been drinking
- They will be able to call you for a ride home without there being any negative consequences
Although they may not always follow the rules, all you can do is to ensure that they are clear.
Model Good Behavior
Ensure that you, your friends, and family members are modeling responsible alcohol related behavior around your child. Make sure that you are showing them how you want them to act and are not guilty of doing the exact same behavior that you are trying to discourage.
An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to help you navigate the slippery legal slope that your child will be on following them being charged with DUI. Their knowledge and experience will help you obtain the best outcome in your case.