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What to do if your child is charged with a DWI

It is no secret that many college kids consume alcohol, including students who are underage. Not only can this lead to charges of underage drinking, but DWIs for any college student can have especially devastating consequences. While you can no longer control your child as much as you did when they were younger, it is still important to teach them how serious DWIs are and learn how you can best support and protect them if they face a conviction.

Penalties

Even a first-time DWI offense can have many consequences. Your child could face fines, community service hours, raised insurance rates, alcohol assessment programs, and jail time anywhere from a day to 36 months, depending on the level of the DWI.

Another crucial penalty to understand is license suspension. If charged with a DWI, your child will automatically have their license suspended for at least 30 days, possibly up to a year. This could greatly affect their transportation ability at school and their ability to visit home, as well as making them a higher risk for insurance. It is possible to reinstate your child's license, but it involves multiple fees and cannot be completed until the suspension period, jail time, service hours, and treatment programs are all finished.

School-related penalties

DWI penalties can already be difficult to deal with, but there are other penalties your child might face as a college student. It is possible they would be suspended from school, which could affect their classes for the semester and their schedule to graduate. Some universities even expel students, and because many schools are less likely to admit students with DWI charges, it could be hard for your child to find and attend another school.

A DWI might also affect a student's scholarships, depending on the terms, as well as make you ineligible for financial aid.

Even a single DWI could greatly impact your child's future too. A DWI charge stays on a person's criminal record, which can make it difficult to find employment. It could be difficult for them to get started after college and they may not be able to seek the employment opportunities they had been studying for.

What can you do?

Your child has the right to make their own decisions, but you can help prevent the possibility of a DWI by talking to them about the dangers of drinking and driving and the enormous damage a DWI can have on their future.

If they are charged with a DWI, it is crucial to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, especially an attorney who has success in defending college students. There are many ways your child's conviction could be dismissed or the penalties lessened. Protect your child's future by educating them on DWIs and supporting them if a conviction occurs.

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