As a parent, the last thing you want to do is to receive a call from the police stating that your child has been arrested for drunk driving. Your teen isn’t old enough to drink legally, and you’ve had discussions about the seriousness of driving under the influence.

The reality is that teens make mistakes, but those mistakes can threaten their futures. Getting an underage DUI has many implications, including parents learning that their minor child is drinking illegally.

How does a DUI affect teens?

Right off the bat, it’s likely that your teen will lose their driver’s license. As an inexperienced driver and one without the right to drink in the first place, the penalties are harsh. Heavy fines and even a potential for jail time is possible.

The penalties in situations like this are often dictated by the way that your teen responds to the arrest, the factors of the case and your attorney’s ability to negotiate an acceptable plea bargain and/or penalties. In some cases, getting your child substance abuse treatment may win the court’s approval and might allow for an alternative penalty to be levied in the event of a plea bargain.

Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy, so any teen with more than a .02 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) faces severe penalties, including up to six months in jail, fines of as much as $5,000 and more. If someone was injured as a result of your teen’s misadventure, there is a true potential for criminal charges. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to seek help to prevent these charges from affecting your child’s future.