Ever thought about what your worst nightmare as a parent would be? How about getting a call that your child is facing criminal charges for drunk driving? There is no playbook for handling this situation, but parents should know what they can expect for their child.

Not only will the student face criminal charges, but the effects will go beyond the courtroom. With a DUI on your student’s record, their life can change academically, socially and in terms of employment.

How will their life change academically?

Whether they are approaching graduation or starting freshman year, a run in with the law may affect the academic success a student achieves. Having to miss class for court and diversion, if offered, can become a distraction to schoolwork. Student athletes will certainly see change in their life depending on the school’s alcohol policies. Athletic departments are cautious about the negative attention their school gets from the media. An athlete with a record is not something they want to deal with. Collegiate athletic directors want to protect the school’s program and will do what it takes to achieve that.

How will their life change socially?

Society can be brutal and with a DUI, comes judgment. Your child’s reputation will no longer be the same and they will have to face the consequences. Friends and colleagues may no longer trust the student to drive them around. Their social life can also change because the student should be very cautious about how they consume alcohol. They’ll want to change their drinking habits, as the consequences after a second DUI will be even worse.

How will their life change in terms of employment?

It is tempting to simply not mention a DUI on a job application, but you should disclose of this information if applicable. Lying always looks bad to employers and before they hire you, employers often run background checks and will find out what you did not disclose.

When you are talking with your student about the dangers of drinking and driving, encourage them to think long-term. There are not only legal consequences when facing criminal charges, but an error in judgment can affect the rest of their life.