Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal charge that can have a permanent effect on a person’s life. While it’s bad enough if you’re charged with a DUI, it’s even worse if you’re the parent or a guardian of a minor charged with a DUI.
An underage DUI can result in a complete loss of driving privileges, hefty fines, and a lasting criminal record. If you want to minimize the damages your child suffers as the result of a DUI, keep reading. We’ll educate you about what happens if your minor gets a DUI, and what you need to do to help them. You’ll learn why you need a DUI defense attorney to represent your child, and what a good DUI lawyer should do for your defense.
If you’re in the greater Seattle area, and you need an attorney for an underage DUI, contact us right now. Don’t wait another second in giving your child the best defense possible.
What Happens if a Minor Gets a DUI?
If a minor is arrested for a DUI, they will be booked and processed at a police station. Minors are usually not placed in holding cells with adults—they’re kept separate until their parents or a guardian come and pick them up.
The possible penalties and repercussions for an underage DUI conviction may include:
- Suspension of License – The length of the suspension is affected by the level of intoxication, the rate of offense, and any relevant circumstances related to the DUI arrest.
- Revoked Drivers License – After repeat or severe DUI charges, the Department of Licensing may restrict a person from ever driving a car in Washington state.
- Tickets & Fines – All DUI charges will cost you money. There may be multiples fines you need to pay that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Court Mandated Drug/Alcohol Testing – A teenage DUI can result in your minor needing to regularly check in with the state to ensure they are sober.
- A Criminal Record – Once a minor is convicted of an underage DUI, they have a permanent criminal record. This can impact future employment opportunities or admittance to certain universities.
When you’re the parent of a minor facing a DUI, getting an attorney is the thing to do. Your DUI lawyer works to minimize the charges your son or daughter may have to deal with.
What Should I Do if My Teen is Charged With an Underage DUI?
We recommend three things—retaining a DUI criminal defense lawyer, having a serious discussion with your teenager, and showing them that their actions have consequences. The next section has more information on why finding the right DUI lawyer is important.
Most teenagers experiment with alcohol or drugs, but most don’t get teenage DUIs. Talk to your teen—ask questions about why they’re doing drugs and drinking. Punishment may certainly be in order, but so is listening. Find out if this was their first time drinking or using drugs. Find out what made them want to get drunk and/or high. You may be sad or angry with your teen—but you’ll learn the most by listening first.
Next, your teenager needs to respect the responsibility that comes with their car. Being under the influence and operating a vehicle puts many lives in danger. It’s not just the driver’s life and well-being on the line—it’s also every other person out on the road.
You may decide your teenager needs to face consequences that don’t just include the law. Grounding your kid, taking away their vehicle, or enrolling them in community service are some options for proactive punishments. Also, when you’re in court, mentioning your involvement in your child’s well-being and self-appointed consequences may play favorably. Show that your teen has genuine remorse for their actions and won’t drink and drive again.
Remember, teenage minors are just discovering their new freedoms, and are going to make mistakes. If you help them correct these mistakes now, using communication tempered with discipline, you can prevent them from going down this road again.
Why You Need a DUI Defense Attorney for an Underage DUI
While you handle your family business, you need a seasoned DUI attorney to help your child with their underage DUI charge.
You don’t want to represent yourself or your kid during an underage DUI. You need a qualified DUI attorney who can:
- Build Your Case – You have the right to defend your child. A DUI attorney can see if the arrest is challengeable. They can challenge the field sobriety test or arresting procedure. Each case is different, and your attorney will help form a defense strategy uniquely suited for you.
- Represent You in Court – While an underage DUI is a big deal for you and your kid, it’s in a DUI lawyer’s day-to-day. The courtroom is their ballpark and this is their game. It’s important to hire a Seattle DUI attorney with a good reputation and a proven track record. You want a DUI attorney who knows the law as well as they know the judges and prosecutors.
- Dismiss or Reduce Charges – With a proper DUI defense, you might get your charges completely dismissed. A good DUI defense can mean paying fewer fines, having a shorter license suspension, and staying out of jail.
- Answer Your Questions – If you or your child never had a DUI before, that’s a very good thing. However, this is also completely unfamiliar territory. You want to play a proactive role in your child’s defense. Get a professional DUI attorney to walk you through to proceedings and educate you.
Matthew Leyba — Seattle DUI Attorney
Do you or your child need a DUI criminal defense attorney? Call Leyba Defense, Seattle DUI lawyers. Each of our cases gets personal supervision and guidance from the owner and head attorney Matthew Leyba.
We work tirelessly for our clients and we don’t stop until you’re completely satisfied with your defense. Contact us and get the underage DUI defense you deserve.