Henrico County Underage DUI Lawyer
Being charged with a DUI is always a serious matter. However, when the individual is an underage driver and has been pulled over under suspicion of being intoxicated, this increases the severity of the situation. Under no circumstances may an individual below the legal age have any alcohol in their system. Therefore, the blood alcohol level required for reaching impairment is reduced, and depending on the person’s BAC levels and age, they could be tried as an adult and convicted. Additionally, prosecution will try to make the charge more severe based on the individual’s age. This is not the type of case that goes away after it is over. DUIs will stay on a person’s criminal record permanently. This can prevent them from being accepted to universities, jobs, and other positions, even if the event occurred several years ago. This is why it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Henrico County DUI attorney. They will be able to determine the best approach for a defense, and keep you informed throughout the entire process of the case.
DUI Laws for Drivers Under 21
If you are under 21 but over 18, you are still classified and treated as an adult for purposes of the DUI standards. If you are a minor and under 18, the blood alcohol level used to convict is significantly lower than it would be if you were an adult.
If an individual is under 21, the blood alcohol level required to reach impairment is reduced and the standards are used differently. Basically anything over .02 can be used to get a conviction, particularly in cases where you are a minor. If it is .08 or higher, even if you are a minor or under 21, they will try to make the charge much more severe based on your age.
What to Expect During an Underage DUI Stop
Underage DUI cases in Henrico County are handled much the same as those in General District Court for people over the age of 18. They will present evidence of the driving and the alcohol tests that were used. In addition to that, they will present evidence of your behavior at the scene as well as your age in conjunction with the underage DUI. If you are a minor, the matter will be challenged in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court where the courts have a lot more to say in the punishment. That court’s punishments can sometimes even be more severe than an adult court.
How Henrico County Prosecutes Underage DUI Charges
How courts treat Henrico County underage DUI cases will vary greatly depending on the blood alcohol level. If it is an issue where the individual had a high blood alcohol level, the courts can be much more severe. If it is a case where the individual did not have a high blood alcohol level, we can often negotiate to get the matter reduced or treated less severely than a normal DUI. The penalties in a DUI case when an individual is under 21 are very similar to those of a first offense or standard adult offense. It will come with a mandatory license suspension, the possibility of a jail sentence, and required alcohol counseling.
If under 21 and charged with a DUI, your license is automatically suspended pending resolution of the case. The process for obtaining a restricted license is similar to that of an adult case, however, DMV does have the authority to suspend your license. The courts are typically reluctant to provide a restricted license in cases of underage DUI. Then again, if we can show that the individual is working or in school, we can often get a restricted license for them.
How an Underage DUI Conviction can Impact a Person’s Future
An underage DUI charge in Henrico County can affect an individual’s future in a number of ways. Obviously the most primary ones are their ability to operate a vehicle, go to school, and maintain insurance.
In addition, a criminal conviction can hurt their ability to obtain a scholarship. Many schools nowadays ask for criminal background checks or information about your past, so it can affect your ability to go to school and obtain scholarships.
- BAC Level under .08:
- Advisement pending alcohol counseling
- Required alcohol education counseling
The main qualifier is going to be your age. Typically if you are 18 or a minor, the courts will definitely consider it. The older you are though, the less likely the courts will consider using any sort of alternative sentencing.
What Parents Should Know
The main thing parents need to be aware of right from the beginning is just how detrimental this sort of conviction can be to their child’s future ability to get into school, get student loans, and things of that nature. But in addition to that, they need to know how proactive they can be in getting their child involved in alcohol education courses and things that can benefit the defense in court.
University Students Under 21
If you are a college student, nowadays schools will routinely ask you to provide information about your schooling and about your criminal record, if any. A lot of times a conviction can greatly impact your ability to get into a school or to stay in the school. In addition to that, it can violate a school’s code of conduct. The university can find out in a number of ways, either through asking you or asking you to provide a criminal background check. In addition to that, sometimes they request information about your licensing or DMV record, which will obviously show the DUI.
There really is no standard way that schools handle these cases. It can vary greatly based on the school and the code of conduct they have. Some schools will put you on probation, some schools can actually expel you. It is all very much dependent on the school’s code of conduct. There can routinely be a hearing process if the school is going to put you on probation or suspend you based on a criminal charge. These administrative hearings can involve either a student council and/or a disciplinary individual within the school.