A Fairfax underage DUI lawyer can represent teens who are accused of violating zero tolerance laws. Because teenagers under 21 are not allowed to drink alcohol in Virginia, any measurable alcohol can lead to a drunk driving charge even when a teenager is not actually impaired.
A conviction for DUI means the loss of a license, more costly insurance, fines, and required community service. A conviction on a teen’s record can also affect college and employment opportunities. A teen should be represented by a Fairfax attorney with experience in underage DUI cases who can help to try to reduce penalties or avoid conviction.
Teens are entitled to the same Constitutional protections as anyone else in the United States. This means if evidence of intoxication was uncovered as part of an illegal traffic stop or illegal search, it may be suppressed. A Fairfax underage DUI lawyer can petition the court to prevent illegally-obtained evidence from being used to secure a conviction. Suppression of evidence can often lead to charges being dropped, a case being dismissed, or a not guilty verdict.
Other potential defenses may also exist to a charge of underage DUI. An underage DUI lawyer in Fairfax can help to explore the manner in which field tests, BAC tests, or breath tests were administered to determine if there were problems in the way evidence was handled.
An attorney can also make a rising BAC defense, which argues that a person’s blood alcohol concentration continues to rise after a person has stopped drinking. Because the BAC limit is so low under zero tolerance laws, it is possible a teen may have been under the limit at the time of driving and then slightly over the limit a short time later when the blood alcohol concentration test was actually performed.
If doubts can be introduced regarding whether a teen is guilty of drunk driving, the teen should be found not guilty, since the burden is on the prosecutor to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.
A Fairfax DUI lawyer can also assist in exploring opportunities for deferred prosecution or plea bargains in order to avoid taking the case to court.
Teens have their whole life ahead of them, and deserve a vigorous defense when accused of underage DUI. Contact an attorney in Fairfax as soon as possible for help after an arrest.
Virginia Code Section 18.2-266.1 makes it a crime for someone under the age of 21 to drive after the illegal consumption of alcohol. A teen who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of just .02 percent by weight can be convicted of this offense. A BAC at or above this limit is considered DUI per se, which means no additional evidence of impairment or intoxication is needed. This law is often referred to as a zero tolerance law, because it provides penalties even for a very small amount of alcohol consumed when underage.
Underage drunk driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Fairfax. Penalties include a one-year licenses suspension, a fine of $500 or performance of at least 50 hours of community service. Attendance at an Alcohol Safety Action Program may also be required.
A teen is charged with an underage DUI only if his BAC is between .02 percent and less than .08 percent. A teen who has a blood alcohol concentration at .08 percent or higher will be charged with a standard DUI offense under Code Section 18.2-266 and will face all associated penalties including the potential for jail time.