teenage girl smiling at camera in driver's seat

What Parents Can Do To Prevent Underage DUI

What Parents Can Do To Prevent Underage DUI

It’s no secret that teenagers don’t always follow the rules. The high school years are full of mistakes, rebellion, and new experiences. Unfortunately, that can sometimes be a recipe for disaster.

Underage DUI is incredibly serious, but also 100% preventable. You may be thinking as a parent, you can’t control everything your teenager does. While that is true, there are certain steps you can take to help dissuade them from engaging in the dangerous behavior of drinking and driving.

Explain The Consequences

One of the best things you can do is sit down with your child or children and explain the many consequences that could come as a result of underage DUI.

Legal Consequences

Depending on the driver’s BAC, the legal consequences of underage DUI can be quite severe.

If the driver blows a .02% or higher, they will be charged with underage DUI. Just one drink can be enough for a 240 pound man or woman to reach a BAC of .02% in an hour.
The penalties for this charge include:

  • A three-month license suspension (six months for a second offense)
  • Mandatory completion of an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program

An underage DUI will not be met with expensive fines or jail time, and will not result in a criminal conviction.

  • However, if the underage driver blows a .08% or higher, they can be charged with a standard DUI. This means that they will face the same penalties as an adult.

These include:

  • 48 hours to 90 days in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Six-month license suspension
  • Mandatory completion of an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program

A standard DUI is a criminal offense and will result in a mark on the driver’s permanent record.

Health Consequences

In addition to the legal consequences of a DUI, speak with your child about some of the physical risks of driving under the influence.

According to the NHTSA,

  • About 28 people die in drunk driving accidents each day.
  • Over 25% of all accidents are alcohol-related.
  • In 2020, nearly 300,000 people were injured in drunk driving accidents.

Common injuries from drunk driving accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury leading to paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Burns
  • Psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder

Being the victim of one (or multiple) of these injuries can have life-altering consequences. Warn your children that these risks are incredibly serious, and injuries from drunk driving can forever change their quality of life.

Be A Good Example

Parents aren’t perfect. However, choosing to drive intoxicated in front of your children may lead them to believe that it’s okay. Make sure that if you’ve been drinking, you set a good example by calling a sober driver or using a rideshare program to get home.

Open Communication

When teenagers are out trying alcohol with their friends, they often hide it from their parents. After all, they are doing something illegal. However, this secrecy can also push them to drive themselves home after drinking. They may fear the consequences of their parents finding out they were drinking and believe that is more severe than the risk of being stopped by a cop.

As a parent, communicate with your children that you would rather they call you for a safe ride home than attempt to get behind the wheel or get in the car with a drunk friend. Clearly tell them that their safety is your first priority, not punishing them.

Set Clear Rules

Preemptively set up rules with your teenage children so that there is no confusion about what behavior is allowed. Communicate that underage drinking is wrong, and underage drinking and driving is even worse. Set clear consequences for these actions, but don’t make them so severe that it will make them scared to call you for help.

Watch For Warning Signs

If you suspect your teenager may be drinking alcohol or doing drugs, watch for some of these common signs that there is something going on:

  • Sudden failing grades
  • Changes in the friend group
  • Less interest in their hobbies
  • Spending more time alone
  • Finding a fake ID
  • They leave the house with a large duffel bag
  • Coming home late at night

South Carolina Underage DUI

Doing everything you can to prevent your child from drinking and driving is incredibly important. However, if your child does end up being charged with underage DUI, Joe Good, Attorney at Law is here for you and your family. We will do everything in our power to protect your child’s future and ensure the best possible outcome.