Since it is illegal in Virginia for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, individuals under the age of 21 who are pulled over for a DUI may be charged with what is known in Virginia as a “baby DUI.” In those cases, a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.02 grams of alcohol or more constitutes an underage DUI. Those who are charged with a baby DUI may benefit from consulting a Mecklenburg underage DUI lawyer for legal advice. A well-practiced DUI attorney could build your defense and fight for you.
In the State of Virginia, people under the age of 21 could be subject to an underage DUI and the traditional DUI. The baby DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or a minimum of 50 hours of community service, and forfeiture of an accused individual’s license for one year. Defendants could also be subject to participation in a VASAP and may have a restricted license. If their BAC is 0.08 or above, they could be subject to the traditional DUI, which carries penalties of up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, VASAP, and possibly other court-ordered programs. While baby DUIs are charged under the same statute as a traditional DUI, it carries a different standard of proof.
A traditional DUI requires a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or more. Impairment in an underage driver may be determined solely on evidence that the individual has consumed 0.02 grams of alcohol. Individuals facing underage DUI charges may benefit from speaking with a seasoned Mecklenburg underage DUI attorney to begin building their defense case.
Someone under the age of 21 should expect two things regarding their DUI case. If they have a BAC of 0.02 or more and operate a motor vehicle or machinery, they may be charged under the baby DUI statute. If their BAC is 0.08 or above, they may be subject to the statute that applies to those 21 and over. The mandatory minimum of time to serve and the length of time their license is suspended depends on their BAC. Prosecutors and judges treat underage DUI cases just as seriously as other types of DUI cases. If the offense is serious enough, they may be sentenced to jail time and have their license taken away. While these sentences may be just as severe as the ones for of-age sentencing, they are considered easier for prosecutors to prove.
The location where an underage DUI case is heard in Mecklenburg depends on the age of the individual. If the accused is over the age of 18, the case could be heard in the general district court. If they are under the age of 18, they may be heard in juvenile and domestic-relations court. Whether the defendant is under or over the age of 18, a tenacious underage DUI lawyer in Mecklenburg County could help guide them through the legal process.
Individuals are advised to work with an experienced Mecklenburg underage DUI lawyer if they are facing charges. If they are between the ages of 18 and 21, they will be charged under the baby DUI statute. A knowledgeable attorney could explain how underage DUI laws work in Virginia, explain what to expect from a DUI case in court, and work to prevent a person from being convicted. If a conviction is inevitable, a hard-working lawyer could attempt to get the punishment reduced. If you are facing charges, call today and set up a consultation.