Thursday 20 June 2024

How to Handle Your Teen's DUI Charge

If you're a parent and you learn one of your teens has been charged with a DUI, it is likely to be overwhelming. According to Value Penguin, over 5 million car accidents occur in the U.S. every year, and if your teen's DUI caused one of those, your worry may be compounded by financial concerns. How you handle this episode in your child's life could help strengthen your family bond and help your child find their way to living a more responsible life.

Talk Openly and Show Concern

As soon as possible, you and your teen need to talk about the circumstances under which the DUI occurred. Keep your tone as nonjudgmental as possible, and let your teen know you will emotionally support them and get them whatever help they need. This talk will set the tone for how you and your family will handle this challenging chapter of your teen's life.

Be Honest

Your teenager is likely to know you're angry and disappointed with them. It's okay for you to state those feelings clearly, but it's essential that you also repeat how much you love them. Once your teen has admitted their guilt, you can explain that everyone makes mistakes, and how they handle them will make a positive difference in the rest of their lives.

Discuss Consequences

Once you and your teen are talking calmly, you must help your child be accountable for the consequences of their DUI charge. According to Evolve Treatment, in most states, a convicted teen will have their driver's license suspended or revoked and must pay a fine of up to $2,500. Legal penalties are made so severe because statistics show that drugs more potent than alcohol will be responsible for almost 20% of motor vehicle deaths.

Hire a DUI Lawyer

A DUI charge will be severe for your teen, and you'll want them to have the best professional advice and support. Encourage your teen to be honest with their attorney and to take verbal responsibility for their actions in the incident that led to the DUI charge. If the court sees that your teen is ready to take responsibility for their mistakes, they may be lenient in their sentencing; otherwise, your teen could receive the maximum legal penalty.

Find Out if Drugs Were Also Involved

During your initial conversation with your teen, it will be essential to find out whether they were taking drugs along with drinking alcohol. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a severe mistake, but the use of illegal drugs – or misusing Schedule II narcotics – can lead to more serious legal penalties, as well as the prospect of a more severe addiction. Schedule II drugs include codeine, methadone, cocaine, and other opiates.

Seek Professional Help

Your teen may or may not be addicted to alcohol or other drugs. You can act out your love by directing them to a counselor with experience in teen alcohol and drug use. A counselor may refer them to a facility to help them detoxify and then to a rehabilitation center to begin recovery from their addiction. Although your teen will have to make the changes needed for recovery, your ongoing emotional support will be essential.

From the time you learn your teen was charged with DUI, you will have to walk a fine line between giving them your loving support and holding them accountable for their actions. From the start, make it clear that although you'll always be on their side, you'll want them to act responsibly from this day forward.

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