5 Things Parents Should do if their Teen is Charged with a DWI

by Jenn

Parents of teenage drivers have a great deal to worry about, but most people believe that their teen driver will never make the mistake of driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, even the most intelligent teens can have a lapse in judgment and find themselves in serious legal trouble. As a parent, here are the steps you may want to take if your child calls to say that he or she has been arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Exercise 5th Amendment
Teach your children about their rights, including the right to remain silent. While it’s important to cooperate with the police, drivers should also know that they don’t have to answer any questions that may implicate them. If people do not answer questions openly on the scene, they will likely be arrested under the suspicion of DWI, but it is easier to mount a defense against this charge than it is to deal with an arrest that’s supported by statements recorded on the scene. If your teen driver calls you from the road to admit that they’re being pulled over and have been drinking, encourage them to exercise this constitutional right.

Be Proactive with the Defense
Drunk driving charges can carry hefty penalties, so you’ll want to mount an aggressive defense. A lawyer can provide you with more information about your teen’s rights and legal options. An attorney may be able to identify illegal police actions or take other steps to minimize the damage.

Have the Breathalyzer Analyzed
In the State of Texas, you are required to submit to a breath or blood test when you’re arrested under suspicion of drunk driving. However, these tests are not always accurate. The breathalyzer machines were designed in the 1980s, and the technology has not been updated since the 1970s. It’s common for them to have errors, and there may be Fourth Amendment defenses that can surpass this evidence.

Question Any Blood Draws
Even if your child’s blood was drawn, it may be possible to cast doubt on this evidence. While the police can legally take a blood sample with a search warrant, there could be issues with the way the blood draw itself, how the vial was stored, and the testing process. With so many moving parts to the blood test, it is possible to find errors that can result in voiding the evidence.

Ask about Other Charges
According to the Law Office of Eric Harron, a DWI lawyer in Austin, Texas, when it comes to teens and DWI charges, there can be other legal charges that are filed. These may include minor in possession of alcohol, child endangerment law violations, possession of false identification, and other moving violations. As a parent, you need to carefully review the charges to see how many different matters will come into play. This information should be shared with your attorney immediately so that he or she can respond appropriately.

Be Prepared for the Worst
It may be possible to minimize the consequences from this type of charge, but there is always the possibility that a teenager driver will have to face the full penalties. These may include up to a $500 fine, a 60-day license suspension, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and mandatory alcohol-awareness classes. The penalties rise for teens who have a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. In this case, the drivers can have a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, and license suspension of 90 days to one year. While you may hope that the penalties won’t be so steep, it’s better to be prepared.

It can be stressful to face DWI charges at any age, but it may be even more upsetting with a teen driver. However, there may be steps that can be taken to minimize the consequences. Follow these steps to help support your child and work through this time.

 

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2 comments

Timandmichele Ash January 4, 2016 - 11:15 pm

Thanks for the Information on 5 Things Parents Should do if their Teen is Charged with a DWI! I was not aware of the things that you can do for your teen if they are charged with a DUI. I’ve been through it already! My daughter was old enough to work and serve drinks, however, she was not at the age to be able to drink. She worked at a restaurant in Reading, PA as a waitress and was coming home. It was dark and rainy outside. She swerved her car when another car with it’s high beams was coming the other direction. She must have hit the small median strip and this caused the air bag to deploy. She thought she was on the brake, however, she was actually on the gas! She went up a grassy hill, went through a chain link fence, almost hit the gas generator that was in the fence, went out the backside of the fence and hit trees. She was sent airborne! When she finally thought it was done, she hit another concrete strip for water drainage and went airborne again! This time she came to rest in a home’s back yard! We got the phone call and my husband told the people “Do not move the car until we get there”. Well, since it’s a drive, the car was already on the wrecker when we got there! He checked out the car. There were 2 police officers there and they were laughing that they couldn’t find the car at first until they saw the car in the distance with the 4 ways on. One cop was nice, the other not so much. They gave her a breath test which she blew a 0. She had not been drinking! She was carrying alcohol in her trunk which opened up and there were bottles broken everywhere. They charged her with a DUI and a bunch of other things. We went with her to dispute the charges and to pay the fine. She was so angry and made a huge scene, so we told her that she’ll have to face what’s ahead of her! She went to court and a few things were thrown out, however, she lost her license for 90 days and had to pay a fine. She had to apply for a “working license” so that she could still go to work. She was supposed to write her route only to and from work. She drove wherever she wanted to and we told her time and time again if she got caught, she may end up losing her license for a longer time and maybe get some jail time. Thankfully, even though, she didn’t listen, she got through her 90 days. I was never so happy! I wish I would have known some of the facts that you have shared with us then! I truly appreciate knowing what I can do with the others when they start driving! Thanks so very much! Michele :)

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Debbie Snell January 4, 2016 - 5:03 am

Horrifying to think you might ever need the info. But better to be prepared and not use the info that not know anything about what happens

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