Guest Blog Post
It’s been said that a child’s first teacher is his parent. So, it stands to reason that a child has learned life “lessons” from his parents even before he starts school. When the parent makes a major mistake, such as getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the child unfortunately becomes witness to his “teacher” making a failing grade.
A DUI arrest of a mother or father can devastate a family financially, and can cause great emotional harm. As a parent, you know that your child looks to you for direction. You also want to instill positive values in your child. But what message are you sending when your excessive drinking has caused you to break the law? Your arrest and absence can cause fear, anxiety, and stress, especially in children, so the problem should be addressed head-on by the parents.
Contact an Attorney
When the police confiscates your driver’s license, the officer also sends a report to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles about the suspension of your driving privileges. By law, you can request a hearing, usually within three weeks of your arrest date, to get your license returned.
If you are the primary driver in your household, absence of transportation will create a great inconvenience for your family. Who will drive your kids to school or after-school activities? Who will go to the store to buy groceries? How will you get to work? On a bus? In a cab? You can ask relatives or friends to help out but that means explaining to them why you can no longer drive.
If in eastern Texas, you can hire a Houston DWI attorney to ensure all your rights are protected, and so you can make an informed decision on how you want to proceed in court. It may also be possible to receive authorization to drive under certain conditions.
Communicate With Family
Simply put, a DUI arrest is embarrassing and humiliating. It can damage your reputation, cause you to lose wages because you cannot work, especially if you are sent to jail, and it can create a “trending topic of the day” among your relatives and friends. Yet, what appears to be an irreparable situation can also serve as a “teaching tool” for you and your family if you:
- Admit your mistake to your family. Apologize to your spouse for bringing the problem upon the household. Also apologize to your children, if they are of age to understand what’s going on.
- Talk about next steps. Your family will be anxious, and fearful. Using age appropriate language, allay their fears by explaining what will happen to you within the legal system, and the work-arounds you have put into place to safeguard them until you are able to return to the family in full capacity.
- Decide as a family how you want to respond to any queries from outsiders. Presenting a united front will also create a family bonding experience.
Take steps to get your drinking under control. Review your past to see if excessive drinking has become a pattern. If you cannot cut back on your drinking, or stop all together, seek professional counseling.
Embrace Your Family
Maneuvering through the court system can be a very stressful time for you and your family. It will take fortitude and patience to endure through this difficult time. If you are religious, your faith can be a great source of comfort. Your strongest support will come from your family, so let them know how much you appreciate them, and return their support by listening, engaging, and providing the answers they need even if it makes you uncomfortable.
As the “parent-teacher,” it is your responsibility to learn a lesson from your mistake. If you have teenagers, use the situation to offer them a learning lesson on how a DUI arrest negatively impacts an individual and their family. After all is resolved, the next time you pick up a drink– think! You might decide to put the glass down.
Teresa Stewart shares guidelines to bolster up families undergoing DUI proceedings. Dane Johnson, a Houston DWI attorney practicing at Johnson, Johnson, and Baer, focuses his practice on DWI clients and their defenses, and works aggressively to protect their rights.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45617397@N05/4190477130/