There are two potential charges under Virginia Law for individuals under 21 who are suspected of DUI. For cases where the BAC is .08 or above, they will simply be changed with DUI. However, if they are found to have a BAC of at least .02 but less than point .08, they will be charged with driving after illegally consuming alcohol. For this type of charge, as a DUI lawyer in Manssas can explain, there is no requirement that impairment be shown. The gravamen of the charge in that is case is not that the person is driving under the influence, but rather that they are driving after illegally drinking. This offense, although less serious than regular DUI, can still carry serious penalties and should therefore be handled with the help of a Manassas underage DUI lawyer.
A person who’s under 21, but is 18 or older, is going to find their cases handled in a substantially similar manner to the way an adult DUI would be. It’s still a situation where we’re trying to determine whether there is a good stop, whether there’s probable cause for arrest and whether there is sufficient blood alcohol evidence to maintain a conviction for DUI.
However, if someone is under 18, it will be quite different because that matter will be handled in the juvenile domestic court and the juvenile domestic court which has different options in terms of what it can do to fix punishment and different things it could require a person that you don’t typically see in the general district court, which is where a person who’s 18 or over would find themselves under such circumstances.
These cases are prosecuted as strongly as adult DUIs. There is perhaps more concern for a person who is embarking on this problematic path at a young age. Sometimes young people can be treated more harshly by prosecutors and judges, which is why consulting with an underage DUI attorney in Manassas is so important.
Anytime you’re dealing with an underage DUI, unless it’s a second or subsequent offense, you won’t typically be looking at any kind of jail time other than suspended jail time. However, it is still Class 1 misdemeanor and a person’s driver’s license is still going to be stored for a period of one year and there’s going to be a $500 fine. If a person is convicted of driving after illegally consuming alcohol, this is also a class one misdemeanor, and the individual will face a one year loss of license and a requirement of 50 hours of community service or a $500 fine.
If an underage person is convicted of DUI, they will also still have to complete the VASAP program, which is the same as the class required for adults. For those who are under the age of 18 and charged with a DUI, they will be facing different penalties. Their case will be heard in the juvenile courts where they may be facing charges of penalty.
The Virginia Code authorizes a restricted driver’s license for someone who is suspended as a consequence of conviction under that statute. A restriced license in Manassas allows someone to go to work, school, or any kind of VASAP that they have. With that said, one thing to be careful of and conscious of with individuals who are under 21 is that DMV can often do something more severe with their license than what the court does. Therefore, almost any conviction this serious, when a person is underage, is going to trigger DMV (at a minimum) to put them on probation and require them to complete a class. In some cases, where a person has priors, DMV will simply suspend them, and even a court cannot issue a restricted driver’s license which overrides the suspension imposed by DMV, which is another reason why contacting a Manassas underage DUI lawyer is so important.
There are a number of things that an underage DUI can impact for a young person. First, it’s certainly going to impact their insurance and, given that most young people at that age are still on their parent’s insurance, they should understand that they’re going to see a spike in their premium if there’s a conviction. This can also have effects on scholarships, in many cases. If a young person is in college and having their tuition partly paid for by a school or some other organization, being convicted of a criminal offense may cause that to be taken away or suspended for a period of time, and in some extreme cases, there can be discipline given by a college or university, which will either place restrictions or limitations on the student or possibly cause them to be suspended. It’s important, from the beginning, to be in touch with any university or school or even high school that a young person may be attending to determine what their internal procedures may be, what the consequences may be in that context and to begin to game plan around those to minimize the impact.
Universities don’t spend a lot of time scouring all of the websites of the various courts in Virginia to determine if someone has been convicted nor do they pull criminal background checks on people. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for them to find out somehow that the charge has occurred, particularly if the charge occurs in the jurisdiction where the school is located.
With that said, if the university does find out, there is almost always some opportunity for the student to be heard or for them to present their side of the story, to present any evidence in mitigation to show what they’ve done to try to address the problem in order to avoid it in the future. It’s impossible to know what every school does, but they all have procedures. They’re all included in the universities policies or procedures and mentioned in the student handbook of some kind. These can be reviewed with an attorney to assist the student and their family in trying to get the best outcome in the situation possible.
Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.