Being charged with driving under the influence can be an overwhelming experience, especially for young people who are underage. If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI, a Fairfax underage DUI lawyer can help you as you navigate the legal process and learn more about the charges and potential penalties you are facing.
Call today to set up a consultation with a DUI attorney in Fairfax.
There are strict penalties in Virginia for driving under the influence, and an even more stringent standard applies to underage drivers, since it is not yet legal for them to consume alcohol, whether they are driving or not.
For adult drivers over 21, any blood alcohol content over 0.08 is considered to be driving under the influence. A BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 does not automatically constitute driving under the influence, but could potentially be considered a DUI when the BAC is considered alongside other evidence, such as police observations and the results of field sobriety tests.
Underage drivers, however, can be considered to have driven under the influence with a BAC as low as 0.02, under Virginia Code 18.2-266.1, which governs persons under age 21 who drive after illegally consuming alcohol. Because the BAC standards are so strict for underage drivers, it is especially important that you obtain the counsel of an experienced Fairfax underage DUI attorney if you are facing DUI charges and you are under 21.
If you are convicted of an underage DUI – a Class 1 misdemeanor – you will face up to 12 months in jail and between $500 and $2500 or 50 hours of community service. In addition, you will have your driver’s license suspended for at least one year and may be required to attend an alcohol safety education program.
If you are unable to pay the $500 minimum fine, your Fairfax underage DUI lawyer may be able to ask that you be allowed to complete community service in lieu of the fine.
In addition to the standard penalties for underage DUIs, you may be subject to certain enhanced penalties if your BAC was excessively high or if this is not your first DUI conviction, despite the fact that you are underage.
A BAC between 0.15 and 0.20 triggers an enhanced penalty of a five-day mandatory minimum in jail, and a BAC above 0.20 will saddle you with a ten-day mandatory minimum jail sentence. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle once your license is reinstated.
Multiple DUI convictions also bring about heightened penalties, which increase in severity depending on how many DUI charges you have faced in a five or ten year period, and whether your BAC was excessively high in any of your previous convictions.
A third or subsequent DUI is a Class 6 felony carrying penalties up to five years in jail and between $1000 to $2500 in fines, and you could lose your license permanently.
For this reason, if your BAC was especially high or if you have a previous DUI charge, you will need to consult a Fairfax underage DUI lawyer right away.
Because underage drivers charged with alcohol-related offenses are treated especially strictly under the law, you should seek out an underage DUI attorney in who has previously handled cases for clients under 21 and understands the legal nuances involved in these cases.
The Fairfax DUI lawyers at our firm understand how stressful these situations can be with the pressure of future educational and career opportunities on the line. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring that our clients get fair treatment under the law and can use our experience working within the Fairfax court system to fight for the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
If you are underage and have received DUI charges, call today to conduct your free initial consultation.
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