Archive for the ‘Underage Drinking and Driving’ Category

How to Prevent Your Teen Underage Drinking and Driving

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

As a parent of a teenager you worry about so many things. Even if you have complete and utter confidence that you have raised a mature and responsible young adult, the fact is that teens combat a ton of peer pressure to drink on a daily basis. One of scariest days of a parent’s life is the day the parent hands over the keys to the family car to his or her teen. A teen’s excitement over his or her new found freedom, combined with the awesome responsibility of driving and the teen’s lack of driving experience would make any parent nervous. But those facts, coupled with the statistic that 1 in 12 high school drink and drive can be down-right terrifying for a parent.

However, parents should take heart they still play an extremely influential role of in the lives of their teenage children. Even better news is that there are things every parent can do to reduce the likelihood that their teen chooses to drink and drive. The following are a few tips to help you reduce your teen’s risk:

  1. Have an ongoing conversation with your teen: The best thing any parent can do to prevent their teen from drinking and driving is to have a conversation with them about underage drinking. Make sure that you teen understands where you stand on this issue and that he or she understands the consequences from you and from the law for underage drinking. Keep the lines of communication open and revisit the topic frequently with your teen.
  2. Start early: Do not wait to have the conversation with your child until the day before you hand him or her the car keys. Start early. Experts recommend starting as early as middle school. If you wait until he or she enters high school you run the risk that the conversation may be too late and that your child has already had an encounter with underage drinking.
  3. Remember that you are a role model: Has your child seen you drink alcohol or drink and drive? Remember that from little on your child is watching and learning from not only the things you say, but the things you do. Make sure that you are being a proper role model for your child.
  4. Friends are key: Your teen may think he or she can resist the pressure to drink alcohol but could he or she resist if his or her best friend decides to drink? The biggest risk factor for a teen electing to drink underage is having a best friend who drinks. As a parent, it is important to get to know your child’s friends and the parents of these children as well.
  5. Develop a game plan: More than likely your teen is going to encounter a situation where other teens are drinking. It is not enough just to tell your teen not to drink. He or she needs to have a game plan in place when this type of situation presents itself. One suggestion is for your teen to have a safe word or phrase that he or she can say to you on the telephone or text to you, that alerts you that he or she is a bad situation. Maybe the plan can be, if your teen says the safe word, then you “demand” that he or she come home. Maybe the story is that he or she failed to do something like clean their bedroom, complete a chore, or take a sibling shopping). This way your teen has an “exit” and can “blame” the whole thing on you.

If you are a parent whose teenager has been charged DUI, he or she needs an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney. The Whitman Law Offices have been defending both teenagers and adults in DUI and other alcohol related matters in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas for over 35 years. Seasoned attorney Charles E. Whitman, will take the time to carefully explain your son or daughter’s rights under the law and evaluate his or her legal options. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. Do not let your teenager’s mistake cost him or her their future, call us today.

Lawrence Kansas DUI Attorney Says to Parents: Set Your Teen Straight about Drinking & Driving

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Whether your teenager is in high school, attending college away from home or has entered the work force, one thing remains the same, teens are under a lot of peer pressure to drink alcohol. This combined with the fact that we live in a very car-dependent society, creates the potential reality for parents that at some point their teen may drink and drive. However, just because some teens choose to drink and drive does not mean that a parent must accept this fate for their teen. Rather they are things any parent can do to prevent his or her teenager from drinking and driving. The first step is to sit down and have a real conversation with your teenager about the issue of drinking and driving. During a frank chat with your teen on the subject, you may be shocked to learn the myths and misconceptions your teen may have about drinking and driving. Here are three of the most common myths that teenagers hold true about drinking and driving and tips for how you can set your teenager straight.

“I won’t get caught”: Most teenagers are under the mindset that bad things happen to other people. It may sound downright irresponsible to an adult, but many teens truly believe that they are invincible—a feeling that may become stronger when the teen is under the influence of alcohol. If your teen is operating under this myth, you need to give him or her a large dose of reality. Make sure that he or she is aware of these alarming statistics:

    • Teenage drivers are 3 times more likely than adults to be involved in a fatal crash and teens who under the influence of alcohol are at an even greater risk.
    • Drivers between ages 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol content at .08 than compared to drivers who are sober.

“I sobered up, so I am okay to drive”: Teenagers often have the mistaken belief that there are things a person can do to “sober up”. A teen might think if they drink lots of water or have a cup of strong black coffee, eat a big meal or take a cold shower that they will become sober and therefore, okay to drive. Explain to your teenager than there is no quick fix to become sober. The only thing that will lower a person’s blood alcohol content is time. Things like caffeine and a cold shower may make a person who has been drinking feel more alert—but in reality the person is just as intoxicated as before.

“I am not drunk, I am just buzzed”: How a teenager defines “drunk driving” may be very different from how the law defines the term. Many teenagers are under the misconception that if they can walk without staggering or talk without slurring their speech, that they are not “drunk” and therefore, okay to drive. Make sure your teen understands that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Explain to him or her that intoxication begins with the first drink, which can impair judgment, memory, and reaction time, all things that are critical to safely operate a motor vehicle. You will also want to remind your teen that it is against the law for a person who has not yet attained the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle after having consumed any amount of alcohol.

If you are a parent of a child who has been charged with underage drinking or DUI, you need an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney. The Whitman Law Offices has been representing clients on alcohol related offenses in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas for over 35 years. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. Do not trust your child’s future to just any attorney. Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time carefully review the facts of your child’s case and make sure that all possible defenses are explored.