Readers, I can’t really preface this one with anything but a request for some wisdom —
Dear Au Pair Mom —
We have just had an au pair debacle that we are trying to sort through and I was wondering if anyone has any advice.
Our au pair asked to use our car to go to a nearby town with a friend for dinner. Since she’s covered on our insurance and takes the car from time to time we said sure. She’s 24, had a great relationship with the kids and seemed responsible. I felt like she was a great addition to our family.
The night she drove our car we went to bed assuming that everything was fine and received no calls or messages that night. The next day at 11:00am my husband and son went on an adventure to Costco to get a churro while I stayed home with our baby. Five minutes later my son came back inside our house crying and I hear my husband calling our au pair to please come downstairs because our car is missing.
Our au pair came downstairs with a post-it indicating where our car has been taken to impound and informs us she was pulled over for going 40mph in a 25mph and presents a speeding ticket. She came home with no car and did not tell us. She informs us the officer could not understand her so she was taken to the police station. Her English is pretty good and it didn’t make sense to me that they would impound our car for this reason. I asked her if she had been drinking alcohol and she says she was not drunk and had 2 beers in a 5 hour period.
My husband proceeds to go to the police station and impound lot with our au pair. After talking to the tow truck driver and police officers, he established the following:
She picked up two friends and went to a bar to drink. She and both friends decided to go to another bar where they ordered pitchers of beer and drank more before she got in our vehicle to drive them home. She was pulled over by the police and received 8 separate tickets for a DUI:
-she was speeding in a school zone
-she failed to yield
-she failed to present her insurance and registration in the glove box of our car
-she was cited for reckless driving
-she did not pull over for a police officer
-she drove erratically in a construction area
-she failed a field sobriety test
-she failed a breathalyzer test several hours later and was over the legal limit at the time of release
-there was a small dent in our car and tree branches hanging on the front of the vehicle
The police officer explained that he could not give us his notes for court but there is no chance our au pair had a misunderstanding about what happened.
I questioned her upon returning and she gave me several changing stories but failed to tell the truth.
As a result of such poor judgement and lying we had to rematch. I know it was the right decision but felt very sad.
Then things got tricky.
Our agency cannot send her home until after court. She cannot however work in the meantime.
After this happened, she had planned to travel so she delayed her court date for a couple of weeks to go to New York City and Disney World (happiest place on earth) for vacation. She’s now staying with an agency coordinator who called us asking for our insurance and registration information to help her out. The coordinator is trying to get her a lawyer and help her.
I feel awful globally that she lied and made such poor decisions.
Also, I’m told that a crime like this usually doesn’t revoke a J-1 visa — because it’s commonly not considered something called “a crime of moral turpitude”.
Does anyone know if after court the agency will send her home or do you think she will rematch to another family?
While I realize everyone makes mistakes I’m conflicted about the idea. If she gets community service will she stick around locally maybe? It’s very awkward.
Do you think we should send the insurance and registration information to help her out? (She was fully covered but I’m questioning whether paying a ticket for not showing registration because she was drunk is worth it if our insurance premiums skyrocket. I’m not sure if she would pay her fines or if it’s a great idea at this point to give her access to our personal information.)
At this point I’m not sure if we should have any more involvement in this process.
I am not sure what is typical in these instances… unfortunately I know other people have had Au Pair DWI experience. Any advice?
Sad host Mom