Ahhhh, prom season. To most of us, it means well, maybe nothing but a slightly embarrassing memory. But to dress vendors, limo drivers, and this year's crop of teenage ladies, it is one of the most wonderful times of the year.
For parents and school administrators, it can become a stress-filled hell. Parents have to worry about covering expenses, finding their daughter the perfect dress, and whether their child is going to get in trouble with alcohol.
One way to ensure that your child is safe is to provide a chaufeurred ride for the night. Now, don't even think about driving yourself. Your child will either die from embarrassment, or never speak to you again. Or both. Instead, a limo or town car might just provide some peace of mind for you and protection for them.
We all know the dangers of drunk driving and have seen, at some point in our lives, the news footage of drunk teens in accidents on prom night. Even if your own child is a complete teetotaler, they may not realize that their BFF's date is a closet-drunk. If they have a ride for the night, they can avoid getting themselves into trouble, or having someone else do it for them.
Limos and town cars can be prohibitively expensive, so splitting the cost amongst a few couples often makes sense. Have your child talk to a few of their friends who are going and see if they can set up a limo carpool.
It is important to remind them as well that there are severe penalties for underage drinking and underage purchasing of alcohol, especially in regards to their driver's license. There is an even worse penalty if they are caught driving with any alcohol whatsoever in their system. California has a zero-tolerance policy towards underage drinking and driving.
For those who have any measurable blood alcohol content, they face a civil penalty of a one year license suspension, or a one year delay in getting their license if they do not already have one.
If they have a 0.05-0.07 BAC, they face a fine of $100 for a first offense, plus the license suspension, alcohol education classes, and possibly a Youthful Drunk Driving Visitation Program, where they visit a morgue. That is not the way to celebrate the end of senior year.
And if they have a 0.08 or higher BAC or they have taken any drugs, they end up with a full-blown DUI offense, with all of the standard resulting penalties.
For those under 21, it doesn't matter if they feel like they can drive, or if their friend is drunker than they are, it is better to not drive and call the parents. However, if they have a guaranteed sober ride throughout the night, the temptation to take the wheel will most likely not be an issue.
- Find a Los Angeles DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Young and Drunk? Here's What Happens to Minors in Possession (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Law Blog)
- Wet Reckless as a Plea Bargain (FindLaw's Los Angeles DUI Law Blog)
- Should I Ever Refuse a DUI Sobriety Test? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- FreeRideHome (FreeRideHome.com)