You sent your child to college with the best intentions and high hopes for a better future. Now, all of your dreams for your child are in jeopardy after hearing that they just received a DUI. While it is normal to want to rant and cry, it is important to realize that your child needs you now more than ever. As you step into a world full of legal jargon and frightening consequences for your child's behavior, use these strategies to help them get their life back on track.
Get In the Right Mindset
Finding out that your child was driving under the influence is enough to send any parent into hysterics. However, your child has likely already experienced the hardships of jail time and having their car impounded. If they were involved in an accident, then they are also dealing with the heavy weight of responsibility that accompanies knowing that their actions caused an injury or damage to another person's property. Simply put, your child is probably scared, embarrassed and worried about their future. Spend a few moments collecting your thoughts before going to deal with your child. This way, you will be able to focus with a clear mind on the issues at hand because they might not be able to look at their situation rationally just yet.
Understand the Potential Consequences
Before you can begin to help put your child's life back together, you will need to fully understand the charges and potential penalties. For underage drivers, the consequences of a DUI are usually harsh and designed to deter future instances of driving under the influence. Jail time, stiff fines and the loss of their driver's license are just a few legal penalties your child may face. Socially, the stigma of having a DUI on their record can also affect their future ability to continue their education, start a career and obtain positions of leadership within their community. While many parents initially think that their child should take responsibility for their actions, it is more important to focus on avoiding having your child suffer for years due to a one-time mistake.
Seek Legal Counsel
An experienced DUI attorney helps explain the specifics of your child's case while identifying potential options that can minimize the effects of a conviction on your child's life. For example, evidence collected at the scene such as a blood test may not always be admissible in court if the proper protocol for collection was not followed. Even if your child is found guilty, there are ways to minimize the long-term penalties by agreeing to seek treatment and counseling. Having qualified legal counsel on your side will also help your child deal with the stress if they have to go to court.
While hearing from your child in jail is the most heart sinking feeling imaginable, it is important not to lose hope. The college years are a time when many kids make mistakes as they test the boundaries of their newfound independence. By helping your child handle their DUI case correctly as they take responsibility for their actions, you can look toward the future with new hope that they will reach their fullest potential.Share