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What are the penalties for underage DUI in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Criminal

Driving under influence (DUI) at any age or circumstance is illegal in Virginia. If you are charged and convicted, you might have serious legal and personal consequences to contend with.

That said, besides the standard charges that adults face when caught, Virginia, like most states have separate legal provisions for minors who drink and drive.

Understanding underage DUI in Virginia

Under Virginia law, you may be charged with drunk driving if operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that exceeds 0.02. However, it is important to understand that underage DUI is only applicable to minors whose BAC is greater than 0.02 but less than 0.08. Thus, a minor whose BAC level is 0.08 or more might face a similar DUI charge and penalty as an adult.

So what are the penalties for underage DUI in Virginia?

In Virginia, underage DUI is typically charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty on conviction may include up to $2,500 in fines and/or a one-year jail time.

A conviction for underage DUI in Virginia also comes with certain mandatory penalties. These include:

  • A minimum fine of $500, or
  • 50 hours of community service

Additionally, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to 12 months if you are convicted of underage DUI. While your license is suspended, however, you may obtain a restricted driving permit after completing an Alcohol Safety Action Program.

Proving underage DUI in Virginia

To be convicted of underage DUI in Virginia, the prosecution must prove the following:

  • You were under 21 years old
  • You operated a motor vehicle while your BAC was greater than 0.02 and less than 0.08

Even if there is no proof of a BAC, you can be convicted by simply proving that you operated a motor vehicle after drinking any alcohol. In Virginia, the prosecution does not need to prove impairment to convict you of underage DUI.

Knowing your legal options can help you protect your rights and interests when charged with underage DUI in Virginia.