When parents send their kids off to college one of their biggest concerns is drunk driving. We worry that even though little Johnny or Suzie never got into trouble in high school, they might find the new-found freedom and new friends too much to resist. It is no secret that drinking is a big problem on college campuses. But what about drunk driving?

One thing we can be sure of is that this generation is more aware of the dangers and consequences of driving while intoxicated than previous generations were. But that doesn’t always stop the teenaged brain, especially one that is influenced by alcohol or other drugs, from making poor decisions. Hopefully, their decisions will not be as stupid as the Texas A & M freshman who recently ran smack into a cop car while driving under the influence of alcohol. But wait, it gets better. Why did she hit the cop car? Well, she was busy taking a nude snapchat photograph of herself driving to send to her boyfriend. Yes, college students don’t always use the best judgment.

Approximately 6.1% of the DUI arrests are arrests of those between the ages of 18 and 20 according to the latest DMV Annual Report. (Under the “zero tolerance” laws, a person under the age of 21 will be arrested for any amount of alcohol in their system.) The good news is that the rate of arrests for DUI for this age group has been steadily declining. The bad news is that this age group represents only about 2.5% of California’s population so the arrests in this age group are disproportionate to their representation in total state population.

If your college-aged child gets a DUI, he or she will not only face the criminal and administrative penalties under the zero-tolerance laws, but it may have other serious repercussions. The arrest will show up on the student’s record and this could affect his or her scholarship eligibility and even future career plans. I won’t even go into how this will affect the college student’s insurance rates except to say, get ready for sticker shock. And hopefully, the arrest will not be for something really stupid like taking a nude photograph while driving and running into a cop car. That poor girl and her ill-considered conduct is all over the Internet; she will probably suffer embarrassment for years to come.

The aero tolerance law means that even one beer or a half glass of wine will put a driver under the age of 18 over the limit. It is important that we make sure our children understand these laws and the consequences of drinking and driving before we pack them off to college. And while I am at it, it’s not just drinking and driving, the law makes it illegal to drive under the influence and that includes being under the influence of any drug that may affect ones driving, even prescription drugs. Your child needs to know that. Smoking a joint and driving can result in the same effect as drinking a beer and driving.

A DUI is serious business and who wants to start their life out with a DUI under their belt? If your college-aged child gets a DUI, he or she needs an aggressive defense. William Weinberg has many years experience defending drivers arrested for DUI, including under the zero tolerance law. He is available to speak with you at his Irvine office by contacting him at (949) 474-8008 or a