Persons under 18 who are charged with DUI will find themselves in the Juvenile and Domestic Court. In addition to the normal penalties for DUI, judges in these courts have broad powers to impose a number of additional requirements on the defendant as well as his or her parents. Speak with an experienced Manassas underage DUI lawyer to discuss what options you have.
Someone should expect a different experience at the juvenile and domestic court if they’re under 18 and charged with DUI or driving after illegally consuming alcohol. The juvenile and domestic courts are much more result-oriented and are much more interested in trying to help the young person. General district courts where an adult 18 or above finds themselves charged simply determines guilt or innocence and imposes punishment.
Juvenile and domestic courts are going to become much more involved, wanting to know everything from how the young person is doing in school to knowing what level of supervision they have had. They want to know the people that they associate with. You are going to find that court will take a much more hands on approach. However, it is often true that those courts will dismiss charges at the end of the day if they find that there has been compliance with all of the terms and conditions that they set forth.
Prosecutors and judges are concerned, in cases of minor DUIs, about how the young person came to be in the position of consuming alcohol and/or what circumstances led them to consume it. They’re frequently concerned about a younger person having an alcohol problem or doing other things that are dangerous or reckless in conjunction with alcohol use. Sometimes, the state may effectively petition the court for a minor to be tried as an adult.
Virginia’s Zero Tolerance policy means that in addition to cases where BAC is .08 or above which will be charged as DUI, any juvenile found driving with a BAC of at least .02 but less than .08 can be charged with driving after illegally consuming alcohol which is also a misdemeanor charge.
Juvenile DUIs can be more severe in the sense that judges in the Juvenile and Domestic Courts will often impose requirements not seen at the adult level. However, they can be less severe in the sense that these cases are sometimes dismissed after a period of time of compliance with all the courts requirements has taken place.
The very first thing that a Manassas juvenile DUI attorney will ask their client is the circumstances a person was under when they were charged. Circumstances under which an individual, particularly an underage individual, encounters the police make a big difference. It’s not unusual at all for police to be a little bit more aggressive and a little bit more authoritative with young people and often, what begins as a consensual encounter can convert into a seizure or a detention of the young person.
Therefore, when that happens, it’s simply important to make sure that there wasn’t something illegal that happened along the way where the police, without justification, began to detain a person or to question them when they don’t have a right to.
It’s important to hire a Manassas juvenile DUI attorney for a case like this because there are potentially far-reaching consequences for a young person who is charged and ultimately a person who is convicted of an underage DUI. The court can be pretty invasive in the life of both the young person and their parents. If it’s a case where perhaps the charge should not been brought or where something illegal happened along the way, by the police, the charge could possibly be reduced or even avoided entirely.
It never makes sense to simply lay down for any kind of charge prior to knowing whether the government can prove everything it needs to. You’re not going to know whether there is a strong likelihood of conviction or whether there’s only a very small likelihood of conviction, until all the evidence has been reviewed by an attorney. This is important information that will shape the decision the parents will make regarding how to proceed in their young person’s best interests.
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