My Teenager Was Charged with a DWI. What’s Next?
More than half of the parents in the US admit that raising children is harder now than it was two decades ago. Parenting becomes twice as difficult when teenagers are involved.
At this age, your child is developing mentally, emotionally, physically, and biologically. Their hormones are at the peak and this might affect them in negative ways. So many things are readily available and accessible to teenagers these days, including drugs, thanks to technology.
Statistics show that about 25% of vehicular accidents with teens involve an intoxicated underage driver. If your child is arrested for driving under the influence, knowing what to do and expect is the most important part.
Teen DUI Can Lead to More Charges
The laws surrounding teen DUI differ and the exact consequences will depend on the state you live in or the conviction is taking place. But what is clear and has happened numerous times is that underage drunk driving can introduce more charges involving the teen and other people.
First, your child might be charged with underage drinking, and the adult who served them knowingly arrested too. Second, they might be charged with violating Child Endangerment Laws, possession of alcohol as minors, and carrying fake IDs in case they used them to obtain alcohol. The penalties are even more serious if your teen was distributing alcohol to peers, who are minors as well.
In a bid to curb underage drunk driving, all states have put up more stringent laws surrounding the issue compared to adult DUIs. In most areas, a teenager who’s arrested for DWI automatically gets their drivers’ license suspended. A fine will automatically apply if the teen was driving without a license.
In addition, the teenager might be required to pay other legal fees, face jail time, or rehabilitation in a juvenile facility. The court can also mandate community service, additional driving lessons, installation of an ignition interlock device, or a compulsory abuse treatment program.
All these consequences are bound to have a negative effect on your teen’s life. They might miss a few months of education, experience social isolation, fall into depression due to shame, get into trouble at school, or even start failing in class.
Consider Professional Counseling
Most states will also require your child to undergo a mandatory underage drinking recovery program. These meetings usually consist of family, group, and individual counseling.
It’s still necessary that you find professional counseling for your teenager, even if the court does not mandate one. These sessions can help find the underlying issues with your child and explain their need to use alcohol. It will also offer an avenue for both of you to discuss and understand external problems that may be fueling their substance abuse. Experts can apply a range of treatment tools available for rectifying conflicted parent-teen relationships.
Consult a DWI Lawyer
When your child is charged with a DWI, the same goes on their criminal record. This can have both immediate and long-term impacts on their life. It can make it more difficult for them to participate in some school programs, acquire part-time jobs, and even affect their grades. In the long-term, a DUI conviction can limit college and employment opportunities.
One of the main reasons why DWI charges get dismissed is if it was the defendant’s first-time offense or DUI. Unfortunately, most teens charged with drunk driving do not enjoy this leeway because state laws convict such cases more strictly. But this doesn’t mean that it is impossible.
An experienced lawyer can bring in their legal knowledge and experiences to successfully argue a DWI dismissal for your teen.