Virginia holds specific statutes for DUI offenses committed by persons who are not yet legally allowed to consume alcohol. These statutes apply more stringent limits to the level of intoxication than adult DUI offenses and may be confusing to those charged.
Under Virginia law, anybody under the age of 21 may not have more than 0.02 BAC while operating a vehicle. Driving with a BAC of .02 or higher while under the age of 21 could lead to a felony conviction under the lessened standards of underage DUI statutes, also known as the Baby DUI statute.
A knowledgeable Fredericksburg minor DUI lawyer could help build a strong defense for charges under the Baby DUI statute.
If someone is under the age of 18, their case will be heard in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Procedures can vary depending on their jurisdiction and depending on the judge, so it is important to speak with an attorney to work within that specific jurisdiction.
Usually, a defendant will have an arraignment at which the judge lists the charges and asks the defendant if they would like an attorney appointed to them. If the DUI charge is a misdemeanor, the case will be continued for trial. If it is a DUI felony offense, the case will be continued for a preliminary hearing.
Sometimes, prior to the trial or preliminary hearing date, the prosecutor will give evidence to the defense attorney and the defense attorney will decide whether or not to go to trial. Motions or continuances will depend on the jurisdiction in which the case occurs.
Every judge or prosecutor and every jurisdiction is different. Some judges tend to come down just as harshly on a juvenile as an adult, but others may be more lenient in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The convictions themselves are also sealed for a time after an individual is convicted in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
As a defense attorney speaking with a potential client who is under the age of 18 and receives a DUI, it is important to know the facts surrounding not only the stop but any statement that the individual might have said to the police officer about consuming alcohol, any tests that were administered to the individual, and any other relevant factors in preparing a defense. An experienced attorney could help gather crucial evidence before trial.
Somebody who is underage and charged with a DUI faces the same criminal conviction and the same potential consequences as anybody else charged with a DUI. Just because a person is young does not make them immune to prosecution or immune to a conviction. A defendant may still face serious consequences, including the possibility of jail time and potential interference with a future career or future plans for school or licensing.
With these severe consequences in mind, consider reaching out to a Fredericksburg minor DUI lawyer for help with you or your loved one’s case. An experienced attorney could help gather evidence, prepare a client for court proceedings, and build a strong defense to preserve the client’s future.