What To Do If Your Child Gets an Underage DWI Charge in Charlotte, North Carolina
There’s a lot to process when you find out your child has been arrested for an underage or provisional DWI in North Carolina. You’re likely angry, extremely disappointed, worried about your child’s safety, and concerned about their future. While there will be time to handle these feelings and decide how you want to hold your child accountable for their actions, you must first handle the legal aspects of their DWI charge. A DWI can severely hinder your child’s future options, and taking the right steps can help them recover from this mishap and become more responsible.
Know That You Need to Act Swiftly
North Carolina is perhaps one of the worst states in which to get a DWI. It’s widely known as being one of the toughest states in how it prosecutes and punishes impaired drivers. North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers who are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so any blood alcohol level above zero will lead to an arrest and DWI charge.
Since the state takes drunk driving so seriously, know that you should decide on a plan and act quickly when it comes to hiring an attorney for your child. The more time you have to mount a legal defense for your child, the greater their chances of coming out of this situation unscathed.
Penalties Your Child May Face for a Juvenile DWI in NC
Your child may suffer two types of penalties for driving while under the influence: administrative and criminal.
Administrative penalties fall under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Generally, an underage driver will have their license immediately revoked for a minimum of 30 days after they have been charged with DWI. If they refuse to take a breath test when stopped by the police, the penalties can be even more severe. This is true whether or not the charges lead to a criminal conviction.
Criminal penalties are those issued by the court, if your child is convicted of their DWI charge. Note that North Carolina addresses DWI and underage DWI as two separate charges, so your child could face two DWI charges. While underage DWI is a class 2 misdemeanor that yields up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $1,000, DWI charges could lead to multiple years in prison and fines as high as $4,000. They could also face charges for underage drinking.
How a Juvenile DWI in North Carolina Can Impact Your Child’s Future
A DWI has a ripple effect on your child’s future. Many parents are understandably angry when their child is arrested and refuse to pay for legal representation, choosing instead to let their child “learn their lesson” in the criminal justice system. While understandable, this is perhaps one of the worst things you can do for your child. A DWI can prevent them from attending college, since many scholarships and grants are revoked if a student is convicted on criminal charges. They may also be unable to attend their program of choice and see their career paths severely restricted. This could decrease their earning potential and keep them out of a field they truly love.
Additionally, a DWI conviction will follow your child for the rest of their life. Every time a potential employer runs a background check, those charges will come up. If they want to volunteer in their child’s classroom, their DWI conviction could forbid them from doing so. There will be time to discipline your child, but do not let the criminal justice system do it.
Limiting the Damage of an Underage or Provisional DWI
Contacting a criminal defense attorney is the very first thing you should do when your child is arrested for driving while impaired. The more your child tells the police, the more evidence the police have against them as they build their case. Hire an attorney with experience handling underage DWI cases for the best chance of having the charges dismissed or your child being found not guRandilty at trial. Your child’s brush with the criminal justice system will likely be enough to prevent similar mistakes in the future without the lifetime consequences of a DWI conviction.
Reach Out to Our Team of Charlotte Underage DWI Attorneys Today
You want to protect your child from the limited career prospects, educational options, and societal consequences that follow a DWI conviction. Hiring a DWI attorney in North Carolina should be your top priority. Contact the team at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys to schedule a consultation today. Call us at (980) 237-4579 or fill out our online contact form now.