Although people under the age of 18 are typically penalized as minors in Manassas, minors can be charged as an adult on a DUI charge when the government makes a motion with the Juvenile and Domestic Court to have the case tried as an adult and the judge agrees with the motion. This is relatively rare, and most cases of this kind will be handled by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Under Manassas and Virginia law, a person is guilty of DUI if they are operating a motor vehicle and under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. In order to prove that a person is under the influence, the government most often offers a certificate of breath or blood analysis at trial which shows blood alcohol content (BAC). At a certain BAC, there is a “permissible inference” that the person charged is under the influence. Practically speaking, at these levels most courts will find the accused guilty unless there is good evidence showing the contrary (such as great performance on field sobriety tests).
For purposes of DUI, the level is 0.08 regardless of age, and a person can be charged with DUI if they are 0.08 or above regardless of their age. There is, however, a separate crime under Virginia law for driving after illegally consuming alcohol aimed at persons under 21. This charge will result in loss of driving privileges for 12 months and a $500 fine. The BAC level needed for this crime to be charged is only 0.02.
Still, if a minor is charged with DUI under Section 18.2-266 of the Virginia Code (as opposed to driving after illegally consuming alcohol for someone who is under 21), then the standard that they will be held to is the same as adults, which is 0.08.
The penalties for a minor convicted of a DUI as an adult are the same as the penalties that a person would receive if they were a legal adult over the age of eighteen. Namely, there is a penalty of up to a $2,500 fine, a twelve-month jail sentence, as well as a twelve-month loss of driving privileges, completion of VASAP classes and installation of the ignition interlock on the vehicle for a period of six months if a restricted license is granted.
In most cases, unless the minor’s blood alcohol is 0.15 or higher, or unless it’s a subsequent DUI, there is not going to be an active jail sentence, but if either of those factors are in place then there can be active jail time.
A more common scenario is for a minor (someone who is under 18) to be convicted as a minor. When this is the case, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court has different options available to it. Not only can it impose the typical penalties for DUI, but upon conviction it can also adjudicate the child as delinquent and place him or her in Juvenile Detention, on probation, in treatment, and in counseling, as well as impose a whole range of other punishments and conditions.
It’s important for a child who is charged as an adult or as a minor to approach the lawyer hiring process in Manassas the same way an adult would. That means they should work with someone who has significant local experience, who knows the prosecutors, the judges and the local procedures, and someone who has significant experience in this area of the law so that they can assist the minor in developing helpful tactics for trial using the tried techniques and the latest developments in the law. Someone with an understanding of how the government works, as well as how the court will be prepared handle this kind of case.
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