What are the DUI penalties for a person under the age of 21?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

As the holidays approach, people in Virginia will have extra time off from work and school. The activities they are likely to take part in include going to gatherings with family and friends, taking trips and enjoying the nightlife. Some might make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Being arrested for driving under the influence can be a problem for people of all ages, but it will create a litany of challenges for those who are technically not even allowed to be drinking alcohol in the first place: people under 21. Understanding the law and potential penalties after a conviction is crucial when determining how to proceed.

Blood-alcohol concentration and potential penalties for underage DUI

The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is a fundamental aspect of a DUI case. For those 21 and older, registering 0.08% BAC will lead to a DUI arrest. For those under 21, because they are not legally allowed to consume alcohol, it is 0.02%. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor. While that might not sound serious, there are various penalties that will be problematic immediately and in the future.

They will lose their driving privileges for one year from the date in which they are convicted. In addition, there will be a fine of $500 or the requirement that they take part in 50 hours of community service. The person can attend an Alcohol Safety Action Program that might allow them to receive a restricted driver’s license while they are serving the suspension. Those under 21 should be aware of the negative connotations that a DUI holds. It can hinder them as they try to find work, attend school and achieve other goals. Avoiding the worst consequences is key and can be achieved with a strong defense.

There are effective avenues of defense for a DUI charge

Although it is illegal, it is common for people under 21 to have an alcoholic drink. If they subsequently get behind the wheel and are arrested for DUI, it does not automatically mean they are guilty and will be convicted. The case should be scrutinized to from the start with the possibility that the investigation was not conducted according to protocol, there were issues with the testing procedure or the person has a viable reason for appearing to have been under the influence. Given the ramifications, seeking alternative solutions or trying to get an acquittal is imperative. Having experienced assistance can help with formulating a strategy and trying to reach a satisfactory outcome.