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Michigan Criminal Law Blog

What to Do If Your Child is Arrested for OWI

Cuffs and GavelThe only thing worse than something bad happening to you is something bad happening to your child.

Most parents agree they would do anything to protect their children, even if it means putting their own well-being, comfort, or health at risk. This is even the case when it comes to OWI.

Receiving a phone call that your child has been arrested for drinking and driving is one of the worst calls you’ll ever get as a parent. Knowing what you should do and the steps to take to deal with the aftermath is the most important thing you can do to protect your child’s rights.

One of the first things you should do if your child has been arrested for OWI is to contact an attorney. An OWI attorney understands how complicated drunk driving cases can be, especially when a minor is involved, and they can guide you and your family through the legal system with confidence.

It’s natural for parents and children to be scared and concerned after an OWI arrest – having someone on your side can make the situation much easier.

What If You Want Your Child to Learn a Lesson?

Tough parenting, especially for kids who are prone to using bad judgment, can be an effective tool for helping kids grow. Sometimes gentle guidance isn’t enough and kids need to realize their behavior has consequences.

As tempting as it might be to view an OWI arrest as an opportunity to teach your child a lesson, now is not the time.

Chances are your child has already been frightened by the arrest and if a lesson is to be learned, it happened during the arrest and hours spent behind bars before mom or dad arrived with bail money. They were pulled over, handcuffed, arrested, spent hours in jail, and dealt with the embarrassment and fear of the ordeal. Additional lessons probably aren’t needed at this point.

No matter how tempting it might be to use this opportunity to help your child find the straight and narrow, it’s better to keep the discipline at home and give your child the support needed to get through this difficult time. His or her future is on the line and you don’t want to be responsible for your child’s mistake having a life-long effect.

An OWI arrest can affect every facet of life. It’s expensive, it can cost you insurance coverage, it can prevent admission to college and disqualify scholarship candidates, and it can affect the ability to get a professional license. Now is not the time to leave your child without support because it can lead to lifelong trouble.

A single childhood mistake can bloom into years of struggle – something no parent wants for his or her child.

How Can You Support Your Child after an OWI Arrest?

The most important thing you can do for your child if he or she is arrested for drinking and driving is to provide emotional support. Just knowing you’re in his or her corner can help your child bounce back from this traumatic experience.

In addition to providing emotional support, you should also:

  • Hire an experienced attorney
  • Make sure your child’s driving privileges are protected – license suspension should only be temporary
  • Speak to your attorney about having the record expunged, if possible
  • Consider enrolling your child in a substance abuse program – an OWI might be a one-time mistake, but it’s often an indication your child is drinking on a regular basis

For more information or to find out how you can best help your child if he or she is arrested for OWI, contact Andrew W. Kowalkowski, PLLC at 248.974.9594.

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