The law states that the consumption of alcohol is illegal for anyone under the age of 21. Getting behind the wheel after drinking can also lead to charges of driving under the influence. Driving after drinking when you are not legally allowed to drink leads to serious penalties.
According to the Code of Virginia, if you are under the age of 21, an illegal blood alcohol level is 0.02% or more, which is lower than the BAC for drivers over 21.
In most cases, if you face an underage DUI, the court will charge you with a Class 1 misdemeanor. You will pay a mandatory fine of at least $500 or have to complete at least 50 hours minimum of community service. You will also have at least a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. If you refuse to take a BAC test, then you will have an additional suspension period.
The one-year suspension is non-negotiable and will apply if the court finds you guilty of driving under the influence. However, the state does offer an Alcohol Safety Action Program that you may attend to try to get a restricted license. A restricted license may enable you to legally drive in specific circumstances. Typically, the court will allow driving to and from work and other essential locations, such as probation meetings or for medical care.
DUIs for drivers of any age have additional penalties when they occur more than once. You will also likely face additional charges if you were driving on a suspended license.