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3 ways to support a loved one facing substance abuse charges

Some people are in your inner circle because they were born there, while others join it because you have a shared history that has resulted in a friendship. Regardless of whether the person is blood related or a friend, when someone you love faces impaired driving allegations in Florida, it is natural to feel stressed and worried about the other person.

You may want to hold them accountable for any bad decision they made while also supporting them to improve their life as much as possible. There are three ways that you can effectively support a loved one facing pending driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Florida.

Talk to them openly and honestly about potential consequences

Maybe this is the first time that your friend or loved one has had a brush with the law, and they don't know what to expect. Maybe they already have a previous conviction on their record, and you feel concerned that they may not take this seriously enough because they didn't face severe penalties after their first conviction.

Sharing the potential consequences of a DUI could inspire them to change their behavior or at least be more proactive in how they approach the pending charges. A first-time DUI offense could carry up to $1,000 in fines and a year of jail or probation, while a second offense could mean $2,000 in fines and longer potential jail times.

Not only could understanding the legal consequences help someone appreciate the severity of the situation, but it may also encourage them to make changes to their life or their legal strategy.

If you believe they have a drinking problem, help them address it

No matter how much you love someone, you cannot force them to change their lifestyle or their behavior. Still, you can offer them guidance and support. Many people don't want to acknowledge that they have a substance abuse problem or feel like if they do something about it, they will look like a failure.

Encouraging your loved one to seek counseling, go to rehab or join a sobriety program can help them change their life in a positive manner. Of course, you have to also understand that if they aren't receptive at this point in their life, pushing the issue too much could alienate them from you, which may leave them feeling more vulnerable and alone, leading to worse substance abuse. Be prepared for the possibility that they will reject the idea that they need help.Offer practical support if you can reasonably do so

Emotional and social support are often invaluable to people facing criminal charges. They will experience extreme psychological stress during this time, and knowing they have people in their corner can make everything a little bit more tolerable.

If it is feasible, you might extend an offer to help them cover the retainer for their attorney or even provide them with transportation to and from any court dates they must attend. While you shouldn't overextend yourself, this kind of practical support can really remind someone about the loving network they have to fall back on when things get rough.

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