Getting a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) can be a serious offense, and it can have significant consequences for your friend. While this is a common charge and one that many people receive each year, it is still serious. Driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs can have terrible consequences, such as accidentally causing accidents and even killing people. One of the most important things you will want to do is help your friend to never drive drunk again. In addition, you want to be supportive without enabling and help them to come to terms with their charges, the consequences, and how to move forward. If you want to help your friend who got a DUI, there are several things you can do:
Getting a DUI can be a stressful and embarrassing experience, and your friend may feel ashamed or anxious. Be there for your friend and offer your support. Let them know that you care about them and that you’re there to help them through this difficult time. Non-judgemental support is one of the most important things you can do for your friend. This includes emotional support, like being available when they need someone to talk to. It also includes practical support in the form of non-judgemental advice and encouragement. It may mean being available to help your friend with work, home life, and court obligations when possible. Support during hard things is one of the essential things friends do for each other, and a DUI may be one of the hardest times in your friend’s life.
Encourage Them to Seek Help
Your friend may need to address any underlying issues that led to the DUI, such as substance abuse or mental health problems. Encourage them to seek help from a professional counselor or addiction specialist. If they aren’t taking any addiction or DUI classes, this is a good thing to research with them. You can help them to research DUI classes and options, and even find online DUI classes they can take without needing to find transportation.
Help Them Research
Help your friend research the possible consequences and fines that they may encounter with their DUI. help them to learn about the laws in your state, the rules and regulations during the process, and what they might be facing. If this is their first offense, encourage them that they won’t usually face the harshest possible penalties on a first offense. Help them to research different options for representation and choose the best one for them. You can also research what is typical for each court appearance so they feel more emotionally and mentally prepared.
Offer Practical Help
Your friend may need help with things like transportation or legal advice. Offer to drive them to work or appointments if they’ve lost their license, or help them find a good DUI attorney. Practical help can be one of the most beneficial and least enabling ways to help your friend because you can help them to resume their normal life and help prevent any further problems, like job loss or missed court dates. If you cannot always be available for help, make sure you offer specific times and dates ahead of time so your friend will know when you can help and can plan ahead for arrangements during times when you aren’t available.
It’s important to avoid judging your friend or making them feel worse about what happened. Let them know that you’re not there to criticize them, but to help them move forward. The courts and other people will do enough judging, and it’s likely that your friend will be very self-judgemental as well. Let them know that you aren’t judging them and that you will be their safe space where they can come for matter-of-fact, unemotional support and help. If they need someone to talk to outside of a professional setting, you can be a listening ear. However, if they need practical help like transportation, let them know when you are available. If they just want someone to be there for them for events like court dates and other hard situations, let that person be you, without judgment and without censure. Make sure that you are there for them when they need you, but give them space when they need it as well.
Help Them Stay Accountable
If your friend is facing legal consequences, they may need to attend court hearings or complete community service. Offer to help them stay on top of their obligations and encourage them to follow through with any requirements. They may need help with transportation to and from these things and help to keep track of their different obligations and appointments. They might also need encouragement to not miss important events, even when they are painful, and support after the events. If the fines and obligations are wearing down on your friend’s self-esteem and motivation, help them stay focused and encourage them to keep going. Moving past a DUI often involves painful, monotonous, and tiring action, and supportive encouragement is essential to not give up. This is especially true if your friend has to take on a second job in order to pay fines or do hours of community service.
Make sure that you are continuing to take care of yourself during the process of your friend’s court cases and charges. While being supportive and available is important, it is also important to have healthy boundaries and realize when you need to say no. If you are feeling overwhelmed or start getting frustrated, it’s time to step back and take a break. While your friend’s DUI is life-changing for them, it’s important to make sure that you take care of your own mental health and responsibilities. This will allow you to continue to be available for your friend and other people as needed.
Remember that getting a DUI can be a serious offense, and your friend may face significant consequences. Be supportive, offer practical help, and encourage them to seek professional help if needed. With your support, your friend can get through this difficult time and move forward.