An underage DUI charge in Virginia Beach can have a devastating impact on a person’s current life and future prospects, especially if the driver is charged with a juvenile DUI. However, an experienced Virginia Beach DUI lawyer will be able to help you understand the charge and the possible outcomes.
The laws are more strict for underage drivers in Virginia. The acceptable blood alcohol content is lowered from 0.08 to 0.02, which means that almost any amount of alcohol found in a person’s system is going to be enough for a charge.
Because the BAC, or blood alcohol content, level for an underage driver is so much lower than the standard, it is almost inevitable that they will receive a DUI charge. If the driver is found to have a BAC level of 0.08 or higher, they will be charged as an adult instead.
Prosecutors and judges in Virginia Beach treat underage DUI charges very seriously. They are not likely to be lenient on somebody who is underage and drinking and driving. In their mind, an individual is not only putting innocent civilians at risk by operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, they are also violating another law that prohibits those under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.
The goal is to teach people a lesson so that they will not appear in court again for a similar charge or another DUI. Therefore, the sentences tend to be similar for both adult and underage DUI, but there are extra consequences for an underage driver.
Someone in Virginia Beach under 21 can expect the process will be the same as if they were 21 or older. If they are under the age of 18, their case will be heard in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court instead of the General District Court.
When someone is convicted of driving under the influence while underage in Virginia Beach, there is a mandatory license suspension for 12 months with the possibility of a restricted license, as well as the possibility of enrollment in a treatment and education program. These are the same consequences as an adult DUI. However, there is an additional mandatory minimum fine of $500 and 50 hours of community service.
While these penalties may seem minor, a conviction can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. Students attending university may potentially finding themselves facing scrutiny from their school. Depending on each schools specific rules, there is the possibility that a student could be dealing with the possibility of suspension or even expulsion.
An individual’s Virginia Beach underage DUI attorney has to request that their client be given a restricted license. Usually, at the trial itself, the judge will ask if the person facing charges works, goes to school, has children, requires transportation to medical services, or if they are religious and go to religious services. Based on whatever the defendant answered yes to, the judge will grant a restricted license with those parameters.
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