Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Juvenile DUIs: ‘It’s just soooo inconvenient’

FreeRepublic.com/Courtesyphoto

SAN BRUNO, CA - NOVEMBER 27: A man is given a field sobriety test after he was stopped by San Bruno Police officers at a DUI checkpoint November 27, 2006 in San Bruno, California. San Francisco Bay Area law enforcement agencies have begun to set up DUI checkpoints as the holiday season gets underway. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By
From page B5 | March 24, 2013 |

By Patricia Fong

Drivers under the age of 21 can be cited for drunken driving with blood alcohol concentrations as low as 0.01 percent. These crimes range from infractions to misdemeanors and felonies depending on the blood-alcohol content and if someone is injured or killed.

A significant consequence for juvenile drunken driving is the driver’s license suspension, which can range from one to three years. Juvenile license suspensions also result from convictions for alcohol possession, vandalism, possession or use of drugs, refusing to submit to a chemical test and truancy.

Driving is a privilege in California and a grown-up responsibility. Juvenile drivers must be conscientious in their decisions to drive or how they drive (e.g., using cell phones, texting, speeding). They need to be held accountable for their choices.

Juvenile drivers need to be reminded that both their parents and the state can take away that privilege to drive.

The parental instinct to protect offspring who drive drunk is often misplaced. It’s not uncommon for parents to state: “We are not trying to get our daughter off on a technicality, we just want the best possible outcome for her. … Losing her license will result in significant inconvenience in getting her to school and extracurricular activities. … Her mother and I cannot transport her every day. Besides, we won’t be able to get insurance if she is convicted. Can you help us?”

Another parent questions the license suspension imposed by the judge: “Yes, my son committed the crime, but the consequences are just so inconvenient.”

A third parent offers a different perspective. The son was seriously injured in an accident as a passenger of a 22-year-old drunken driver. This parent and his wife feel lucky that their son was not killed. He did not lose any limbs or bodily functions, but the brain trauma continues.

“These drunk-driving accidents are life-changers, whether the person is killed, maimed or suffers severe brain trauma,” the parent says. “Taking the license suspension may be a little inconvenient — get a bike — but in no way does that small inconvenience compare with the last 14 months we have spent in the hospital, going to doctor’s appointments, getting our son to rehabilitation.

“These images are imbedded in my mind because I have seen it all first-hand — the trauma center, months in the ICU, tubes and wiring everywhere, worrying then if our son was going to live or not and now wondering how much recovery he will actually achieve. The last 15 months have been hell. A license suspension is only a temporary inconvenience compared to what my son and family are going through now.”

So my response to that request — “Can you help us?” — is: What is more inconvenient — a license suspension now, spending months in the hospital or planning a funeral?

How does a parent teach a child to respect the law and learn the lessons he needs to learn without having that child take full responsibility for his or her own poor decisions? A parent who pulls every string and exploits every contact to attempt to nullify punishment prescribed by the law is doing a disservice to that child. Parents need to step back and let their kids stumble, even though the parental bond strongly influences mom or dad to protect and coddle their child.

Remember when your child begged to drive? You took them out on the road to practice. They passed the DMV tests and signed a promise to obey the rules of the road. You handed over the keys to a potentially deadly weapon weighing 2,000 pounds or more and prayed that nothing bad would happen.

Trying to fix their ticket is quite opposite to helping them “grow up” to be responsible adults.

Putting aside crimes involving rape, murder and other serious violent acts committed by teens approaching adulthood, the goal in juvenile law is much different than that in adult court. In juvenile law, there is less emphasis on punishment and incarceration and more focus on intervention, prevention, education and rehabilitation. However, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences.

In my experience as a career prosecutor, the natural instinct of parents to protect their children is often misplaced when the child commits a crime, especially in cases involving drunken driving. Sometimes, making the best decision causes some inconveniences.

— Patricia Fong has been a Yolo County deputy district attorney for 24 years and is currently assigned to the Juvenile Division.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Mother pleads not guilty to lesser charges in baby’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Is there a fair way out of this?

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Boots help dogs deal with cold

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    High court hears Obamacare arguments

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

     
    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Author events coming up at The Avid Reader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    No real reason to stay

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Dog in shopping cart concerning

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Drought stresses California’s trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Initiative carnival coming next year

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

     
    Hunting has many benefits

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    This river needs our help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Vernal pools are in danger

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Migratory waterfowl threatened

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    San Antonio enjoys home cooking to rout Sacramento

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    DHS sophomore honored for volunteerism

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Arts

     
    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6