Most drivers in Virginia may be charged with driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) level is.08 percent or greater. However, the law is very different for younger drivers. Since the legal amount of allowable intoxication in a person under 21 is zero, there is a zero tolerance law for any driver who is not old enough to drink. Simply put, if a driver is under 21, he or she can be arrested for DUI with any BAC over .01.
As you may imagine, this low tolerance law can result in harsh charges against younger drivers. After just one drink, teenagers can face a variety of underage DUI penalties in Virginia, including:
- Criminal charges. A driver’s first DUI conviction can impose a sentence of up to 10 days in prison, fines ranging between $250 and $1,000, and license suspension up to one year. A second offense can carry a sentence of further jail time and license suspension for up to three years.
- Additional charges. For many underage drivers, a DUI charge is just the tip of the iceberg. Minors may have purchased the alcohol using a fake ID, leading to a charge of possession of false identification. If the driver had younger passengers in the car, he or she could be charged with distributing alcohol to other minors and child endangerment. Finally, if the drunk driving led to an accident, the driver may face moving violations and citations for improper vehicle maintenance or insurance lapses.
- Insurance problems. Car insurance companies may increase premiums drastically after a DUI conviction, while others will simply revoke or terminate coverage. In addition, drivers whose licenses have been revoked will need to provide the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with proof of insurability called an SR-22 certificate before their licenses may be reinstated.
An Underage DUI Can Affect Your Ability to Get Into College
Even if you perform all of the necessary requirements of your sentence or probation (including community service hours, an alcohol safety program, and paying court costs and fines), you may still incur a permanent criminal record, affecting your ability to get into college or find a well-paying job in your field. As a DUI at a young age can have far-reaching consequences, it is vital that you consult with a Virginia traffic law defense attorney as soon as possible to mitigate the charges against you.
If you or someone you love is under the age of 21 and has been charged with a DUI, call The Daniel Law Firm, P.C. today to have us investigate the circumstances of your case and explore the ways to lessen the penalties.
We offer FREE and Private Consultations. Call us toll free at 540-204-4316 today and let us explain your rights.