As a parent, you want to keep your teenager safe and out of harm’s way. However, an unfortunate reality is that many teenagers make poor choices regarding drinking and driving.
If your teenage child has been arrested for drunk driving, you may have questions about how best to move forward.
Georgia’s zero-tolerance laws
The legal drinking age in Georgia is 21, and anyone under that age can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if they have a blood alcohol concentration(BAC) of 0.2%. If it’s their first offense, they may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000, a 12-month delay in receiving their graduated license, license suspension, community service and required attendance of a DUI, Alcohol or Drug Use Reduction course. Your teenager may also be changed with a minor in possession (MIP).
The penalties are even more severe if someone was injured or if it’s a second offense within five years.
But the impact goes far beyond the legal ramifications. A DUI conviction can affect their future regarding scholarships, educational prospects or their ability to get a job.
You are understandably stressed and upset, but there are a few things you can do, such as:
- Stay calm and supportive. Your child is likely scared and confused, so providing emotional support can help them cope. Put aside any anger and judgment and focus on helping your teen.
- Find out if underage drinking is a sign of a deeper problem or a pattern of substance use disorder. You may want to contact a counselor or therapist to help your child work through their issues.
You will also want to speak with someone who can help you and your teenager navigate the complex legal process and protect their rights.