Virginia parents should know that state law treats underage drinking and driving charges very seriously.
Even if your child is under 18, he or she could face a conviction that may impact both present and future opportunities.
1. Virginia has a zero-tolerance DUI policy
In Virginia, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person under 21 to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol. Penalties for doing so can result in automatic license suspension. If convicted, your child could lose their driver’s license for up to 12 months and either pay a mandatory minimum fine or complete community service.
2. DUI sentencing will depend on age
If your child is under 18, the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court will handle the case. However, if testing found a BAC of over 0.08%, the legal limit for adult drivers, your child may face adult charges and possible detention or jail time. If your child is underage but over 18, he or she may also face adult charges, even if testing found a BAC within the legal limit for adults (under 0.08%).
3. Second offenses can lead to even steeper penalties
The court may impose further penalties if your child receives a second DUI within five years. In addition to up to one year in jail, the court may revoke his or her driver’s license for up to three years.
Whether your child is still a minor or is an adult, underage driver, it is important to know that even a first-time DUI can have a major impact for years to come. In addition to obstacles to employment, housing and educational opportunities, having a DUI record can impact military eligibility, immigration status and more.