It’s normal for teens and young adults to make mistakes; it’s part of growing up and learning. They’re learning what’s popular, fun, and new. However, these mistakes can sometimes land your child in serious trouble with the law. A night of drinking and partying with friends can lead to years of consequences that can change the course of their life. Being pulled over while driving under the influence can see your child with more than just a suspended license, but can affect their academic career as well as future job prospects.
What are the legal consequences of your child getting a DUI?
Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s not unreasonable to think that your child may have as well. Both driving and drinking, as separate things, are expected life experiences for our children, but when combined, they are a dangerous blend. Not only could they end up seriously hurt with trauma such as a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, they could also ruin their prospects of a good education or future career.
First, let’s address the legal consequences of receiving a DUI. In South Carolina, anyone can be convicted of a DUI or DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration) if they are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or more. For those under 21 years of age, having a BAC of .02 or more means their license can be suspended.
The legal consequences of an underage DUI conviction are as follows:
- The young person’s license is suspended – for the first offense, it is a three-month suspension; a second offense results in a six-month suspension.
- If the young person refused a chemical test when arrested, then their license could be suspended anywhere from six months to a year.
- The young person must enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program – an evaluative treatment program.
These consequences don’t seem so serious, but with an alcohol related charge on their record, their actions will result in more than just a suspension and attending a treatment program.
What are the life consequences of a DUI conviction?
We want success for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Unfortunately, one mistake can lead them down a disappointing and fruitless path in life. If your teen or young adult finds themselves convicted of a DUI, there are several things you both need to prepare for:
- College rejection: When looking at colleges and schools, be aware that the admissions office can ask about your child’s criminal history, and may choose to skip over your child and choose another if they see that your young adult has a DUI on their record.
- Employment challenges: It’s not uncommon at all for employers to look at your personal history, including your criminal record. A DUI may lead to an instant disqualification for that job. A clean record is more desirable than one marred by a DUI.
- Financial hardship: If the DUI your child was involved in injured someone else or damaged someone’s property, then your child may have to pay restitution or compensation to the offended party. It’s even worse if they are filed with a civil lawsuit, where costs can soar. If they do end up with a job after their DUI, their wages can be garnished to pay the costs of a civil lawsuit.
What can YOU do to help your child?
Of course, we want to protect our children. Even when they make mistakes, it’s our job as parents to do everything to fix what went wrong or keep our child away from unnecessary hardship. First thing we can do, if you haven’t done it already, is make sure your child knows about the dangers of drinking and driving. Often, young people don’t know how strongly or quickly alcohol can affect them. Perhaps your teen was just thinking they were having a small drink and had no idea that they’d actually consumed too much before getting behind the wheel of the car. You could even speak to them on the legal ramifications of drinking and driving, and tell them how it would affect their prospects of entering college or obtaining a job.
If your child has already been arrested and charged with a DUI, then it is a good idea to seek legal help immediately. As a criminal defense lawyer, I have handled hundreds of DUI cases, and I have the experience and insight to know when to fight and when to negotiate.
Having a child is a joy and a privilege, but sometimes it can be a pain in the neck. It’s all part of parenthood. We want the best for our child, but sometimes our children make mistakes. While expected, it can cause some real trouble for your young adult. Not only could they end up with the license suspended, but also with real life difficulties such as challenges to getting into college, or being hired for a job, not to mention any injuries they might suffer or civil lawsuits they might be hit with.
If something like this has happened to your child, you should seek out the best advice and help you can get. At Holland Law LLC, we will fight to see that your child is handled with care and understanding, and that they get the most experienced and hardworking representation available. Our founder, Tom Holland, has the knowledge to help you and your child during this difficult time. To schedule an appointment with our firm in Fort Mill and Rock Hill, call 803-219-2630 or get in touch with us on our contact page. We also serve clients in York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.