Individuals under the age of 21 who are pulled over for a DUI may be charged with what is known in Virginia as a “baby DUI.” In those cases, a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.02 grams of alcohol or more constitutes a baby DUI.
Baby DUIs are charged under Va Code § 266.1, but it carries a different standard of proof than a traditional DUI charge. A traditional DUI requires a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or more. Those cases are handled just as harshly as standard DUI cases. A Fredericksburg underage DUI lawyer could be an invaluable asset during that court case. An experienced DUI attorney could defend an individual’s child against underage DUI charges.
In the State of Virginia, people under the age of 21 could be subject to a baby DUI and the traditional DUI. The baby DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or at least 50 hours of community service, and forfeiture of their license for one year.
An individual could also be subject to participation in a VASAP and/or have a restricted license. If their BAC is 0.08 or above, they could be subject to the traditional DUI, which carries penalties of up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, VASAP, and possibly other court-ordered programs.
Impairment in an underage driver may be determined solely on evidence that the individual has consumed 0.02 grams of alcohol. It is illegal in Virginia for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. Driving with alcohol in their system may be charged as a baby DUI.
Someone under the age of 21 should expect two things regarding their DUI case. If they have a BAC of 0.02 or more and operate a motor vehicle or machinery, they may be charged under the baby DUI statute.
If their BAC is 0.08 or above, they may be subject to the statute that applies to those 21 and over. The mandatory minimum of time to serve and the length of time their license is suspended depends on their BAC.
Where an underage DUI case is heard in Fredericksburg depends on the age of the individual. If they are over the age of 18, they are heard in general district court. If they are under the age of 18, they are heard in juvenile and domestic-relations court.
Prosecutors and judges treat underage DUI cases just as seriously as other types of DUI cases. If the offense is serious enough they may be sentenced to jail time and have their license taken away.
Those sentences are going to be as severe as the ones for of-age sentencing, but they are considered easier for prosecutors to prove. A Fredericksburg underage DUI lawyer could fight vigilantly to defend a person against the charges that they face.
The most important reason for working with an experienced Fredericksburg underage DUI lawyer is that those charges cannot be undone and an individual could have a DUI on their record permanently in Virginia. If they are between the ages of 18 and 21, they will be charged under the baby DUI statute. An attorney may be able to prevent them from being convicted or at least get the punishment reduced.
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