It’s a familiar scene: A group of college friends decides to drive across town to an off-campus party. There’s a keg, maybe some live music. It’s a big turnout. Problem is, nobody thought to designate a driver. Once the party’s over, that same group of friends piles back into their vehicle to head back to campus. Things go south when the driver swerves and gets pulled over. They get even worse when the driver fails the field sobriety test and gets arrested. Worse still when that driver turns out to be your son or daughter.

Jail can be a terrifying place for a child—even one night. The often-unfriendly or aggressive process of arrest and booking, the humiliation and guilt, a kid in a foreign environment surrounded by adults who have committed crimes. Sometimes the “drunk tank” isn’t available and they put your child in with a cellmate or two.

But your child’s arrest and that potentially sleepless night are just the beginning. You face a long and sometimes difficult road ahead. It’s important to know what’s at stake, and how you and your child can bounce back.

What are the consequences?

When your underage child is convicted of a DWI in the state of Texas, the consequences are very serious. Texas enforces a “zero tolerance” policy that means if an underage driver gets pulled over, their blood alcohol concentration better be 0.00%. If the arresting officer finds any alcohol on a minor driver’s breath, some of the consequences include:

  • Hefty fines
  • Community service
  • License suspension
  • Possible ignition interlock device in their vehicle
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Criminal record

This last point is key: A criminal record can interfere with your child’s college application process, their job search, and even their chances of renting an apartment or getting a loan

If your child is in college, a DWI could result in disciplinary actions by the educational institution. It’s important to know your legal options when facing these types of serious charges. Your child’s future may depend on it.