Your 18-year-old son Ted is usually a responsible driver. However, he had a couple of beers at a party, and on the way home, law enforcement stopped him on suspicion of drunk driving. 

Ted has a promising future. How would a DUI conviction affect his plans for grad school and a career? 

The immediate problems 

As a first-offender, Ted will likely find his arrest for drunk driving a sobering experience. Texas is a zero-tolerance state, which means that a driver younger than 21 is not permitted to have any alcohol in his system when he is behind the wheel. Your teen faces penalties that include fines, community service, mandatory attendance in an alcohol education program and the suspension of his driving privileges for up to 60 days. 

Academic issues 

Nowadays, background checks are common; when Ted applies for graduate school, admissions office personnel will probably go online to perform such a check. In Texas, a DUI conviction remains on a driver’s record forever. While Ted may eventually get into grad school, the application process will probably not be easy, and he may not get into the school he prefers. 

Other problems 

Background checks will also apply when your son begins a job search. If he is eventually successful in attending grad school, he may be looking at a profession such as law, medicine or education. However, that DUI mark on his record would prevent him from obtaining the certification or state licensing required to become an attorney, a doctor or a teacher. Also, he would likely be unable to obtain a security clearance. 

Next steps 

If law enforcement arrests your son on suspicion of drunk driving, explore your legal options immediately. Ted made a mistake, but he should not have to pay for it with his promising future. Remember that your son has rights and that his defense will begin with a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding his arrest, which may have contained errors. The goal is to ensure the best outcome possible for his case in the hope that Ted can confidently pursue his plans for graduate school and beyond.