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Underage drinking in Virginia – not a minor offence at all!

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There is zero tolerance for underage drinking in Virginia. Under the strict laws that prevail in the state you can be slapped with a criminal record if you are caught drinking and are underage. You need to be 21 before you can drink legally. The law states that if you are under 18 years of age you are tried in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts as a juvenile. If you are over 18 you are liable to face criminal charges.

DUI in Virginia

The minimum penalty for driving under influence is a fine of $500. Your driving license is suspended from the date of conviction. In another scenario, if you are caught with a fake ID and have obtained the alcohol using it the penalties can escalate to license suspension term of 1 year, and community service for 50 days or a minimum fine of $500. It is also classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.  The other sentences, depending upon the charges slapped on you could entail a maximum of 1 year in jail, or/and a fine of $2500. Fake IDs could pertain to driving licenses or the erroneous documents that fix your age.

Other repercussions of Underage possession and consumption

Virginia has zero tolerance laws in regard to underage purchase, possession and consumption of alcohol. The law considers the exemption of minors in the company of their legal guardians while they are guests in someone’s home.  The other exemptions are when the minor is delivering the alcohol for a parent or as a part of a job.

The Virginia laws can implicate not only the underage driver but also the store or restaurant or bar that was instrumental in the minor obtaining the alcohol. Even the host of the party where the alcohol was served is not spared if the conviction sticks. In fact even the parents of the minor can be charged with complicity if they are proven to have provided liquor to the offender. It is a good idea to be aware of the age of your guest before you offer them alcohol. The zero tolerance laws in Virginia are very restrictive and it is best to seek legal recourse if you are implicated in complicity with the offender.

Underage DUI convictions in Virginia allow permanent revocation of the offender’s driving license for repeated offences. This is relevant if you are convicted for a repeat offence on a suspended license. Revocation of the offender’s license is considered with due consideration of the offender’s age and recent driving record.

Seeking legal recourse

Trials for DUI for underage offenders are processed very speedily in Virginia. You should be quick in hiring a competent lawyer within 5 days of the conviction. The charges generally reach trial stage within 2 months. It makes good sense to be prepared as soon as possible with your defence.