Different parents have different reactions when they find out their children have DUI charges. One parent may be understanding and sympathetic and want to work with the child to ensure safe driving in the future. Another parent might get angry and say things like, “How could you be so stupid?” In fact, many parents react initially in ways that they regret. Part of this regret may come from the fact that it does not take much alcohol at all for someone under 21 to receive a DUI charge. Arizona law says that even a 0.01 BAC is sufficient for such a charge.
No matter how you react at first, there are many things you can do to help your child. Here is a look at a few.
Keep an open mind
Your child is gearing up for what could be a big battle, and it may be time for some honest conversations. In order for your child to be candid, though, you probably have to withhold judgment. Say something like, “Maybe you were with someone you should not have been with. We can address that later, but what is important now is tackling this charge.”
Similarly, if your child insists he or she is innocent, it is quite possible. For example, breath tests have problems, and it is important that you keep an open mind.
Collaborate on a plan to fight the charge
Some children can be frustrating, saying things such as, “It’s no big deal. I’ll just plead guilty and get it over with.” While your child’s life is his or hers, someone that age likely does not realize the grave repercussions a DUI conviction can bring. Directly, they include license suspension, and indirectly, they include reduced employment prospects (and, in turn, reduced salary prospects).
Work with your child on a plan to fight the charge. Often, this can be as simple as enlisting the help of an attorney. A lawyer will gather information and advise you and your child on the best course. Many offer free consultations, so you can talk with a few attorneys to find one that best meets your needs.