Because the legal age for drinking is 21, the penalties for an underage DUI are more severe than those for older drivers. If you've been charged with this offense, it's vital that you seek legal representation as soon as possible.
Penalties for an Underage DUI
Drivers over the age of 21 are considered legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher, but drivers under 21 can be charged with a DUI for a BAC of just .02%. This means, even one drink in your system is enough to get you arrested if you're under 21.
For a BAC of .02% or higher, you'll receive a suspension of your license for one year and a minimum $500 fine or 50 hours of community service. You'll also need to complete an Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) to get your license reinstated.
If you refuse to take a breath test when requested to do so by a law enforcement officer, your license will be suspended for one year for the first offense. You are not allowed to request a blood test instead of a breath test for an alcohol-related offense.
An underage driver charged with a DUI will also likely be facing additional charges. These may include:
- Minor in possession
- Open container
- Solicitation of alcohol
- Possession of an alcoholic beverage on public school grounds
- Possession of false identification, if a fake ID was used to buy alcohol
- Distribution of alcohol to minors, if other underage intoxicated people are in the vehicle
- Transport of children while under the influence, if you have underage passengers in the vehicle
- Other moving violations, depending on what conduct caused the officer to pull you over
Don't Let One Mistake Ruin Your Future
The stiff penalties of a DUI and the stigma of a criminal record can make life extremely difficult for a young person who is trying to establish an independent life. To protect yourself, you'll want to hire an experienced attorney who can build an aggressive defense against the charges you're facing. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review with Virginia DUI attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh.