In Virginia, Parents Can Be Held Responsible for the Driving Behavior of Their Teens

If your teenager has been arrested by the police for reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or any other serious traffic violation in the Commonwealth of Virginia, your first consideration will naturally be for his or her safety. But after you've posted bail, or picked up your kid at the police station, you may have to face the prospect that you are legally liable for your teenager's behavior and any damage that may have resulted. That's when you should call the Virginia traffic law experts at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC (888-783-9701) for a free consultation!

Is Your Teen a Minor? You May Have to Answer Some Questions

By law, anyone under the age of 18 is classified as a minor, and technically under his parents' supervision. So, if your 16- or 17-year-old daughter was caught driving recklessly or negligently (say, texting on her cell phone while she should have been paying attention) or has been charged with DUI, you may be legally liable – at least in part – for the consequences of her behavior (damage to property, personal injuries, fines and penalties, etc.). For example, did you:

  • Allow your teen to drive his car when you had a reasonable suspicion that he may have been intoxicated? This doesn't only apply to the teen leaving your own house. What if he calls from a friend's house and you decline to come pick him up?
  • Fail to properly secure your vehicle, when your teen has been known to “borrow” the car after curfew for a quick spin? If you keep your keys out in plain sight, a court may find you liable for any accidents or damage.
  • Not properly certain that your teen received his Virginia driver's license and is allowed to drive? It's not unknown for juveniles to tell their parents that they passed their driver's test, when in fact they failed (and are too embarrassed, or eager to drive, to admit otherwise).
  • Allow your teen to drive without the proper insurance? According to Virginia law, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. If your uninsured teen is involved in an accident, you may have to cough up a significant amount of money.

Only an Experienced Lawyer Can Tell You the Extent to Which You Are Liable

Virginia authorities recognize that not every accident or traffic violation incurred by a teen driver is the direct responsibility of that teenager's parents. However, the law can be ambiguous in this regard, which is why your first priority (after you've gotten your kid home safe and sound) is to call an experienced Virginia traffic lawyer. The attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC will be glad to talk you through the situation and recommend the best legal options.