Every parent wants their college student to be successful. The family is investing time, money and emotion in that son or daughter's academic career and future aspirations.
Sometimes college students makes poor choices that can get in the way of their goals. When it comes to underage DWIs and their negative impact on a kid's life, what parental concerns need to be addressed? What kind of assistance can an experienced attorney provide after a drunk-driving arrest?
Texas law and the difference between underage DWI and over-21 DWI
The Texas Department of Transportation website explains the rules about underage drinking and driving in the state. While it is common knowledge that you can be arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or greater, many young people don't know that a driver under 21 can be arrested for operating a vehicle with ANY amount of alcohol in their system. As crazy as it sounds, a 20-year-old can actually lose his or her license for having half a beer.
What are the possible punishments?
It depends on the circumstances and the age of the driver. For drivers over 17, many of the adult rules apply for BAC above .08 percent -- possible punishments include the loss of driving privileges, big fines and even jail time, especially for repeat offenses.
For lower levels of blood alcohol, there is potential for the shorter-term loss of a driver's license, significant fines, community service and mandatory classes. There is also the problem of a criminal record and concerns about academic or administrative consequences from the college or university.
Every educational institution is different. It is important to understand if your son or daughter's school imposes academic probation or other penalties to students who are convicted of DWI or alcohol-related offenses. It is also important to explore the ramifications regarding future graduate admissions, military service or employer background checks.
Why talk to a lawyer, and when
Every case is different. An experienced defense attorney can explain your options for addressing the charges. In some cases, legal representation can affect the outcome of the case. Some attorneys can provide guidance regarding administrative hearings.
If your child was arrested for drunk driving, get the legal advice you need, as soon as possible. Anyone who is arrested should be respectful to law enforcement officers but should not discuss the case until they have spoken with their attorney.