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Will your underage child go to jail for a DUI?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | DUI |

Underage drinking and driving is a serious offense, and many parents worry about the consequences their children might face. Understanding Virginia’s laws and penalties for underage DUI is crucial to knowing what to expect and how to navigate the legal system.

DUI law for minors

The state has a strict zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. Under Virginia DUI law, the police can charge any driver under the age of 21 found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher with a DUI. 

Penalties for underage DUI

If the courts convict your underage child of a DUI, they face several penalties. While jail time is a possibility, it is not always mandatory for first-time offenders. The penalties often include fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, and a suspension of their driver’s license for up to one year.

Repeat offenders or those involved in accidents causing injury or property damage may face more severe consequences, including jail time. Each case is unique, and the specific circumstances will influence the final outcome.

Beyond the immediate penalties, an underage DUI conviction can have long-term impacts. It can affect your child’s future employment opportunities, educational prospects, and driving record.

Steps to take if your child is charged

You may find it helpful to address the issue of your child’s drinking and get them help. This could be through counseling or a treatment program. You may also want to seek the help of an attorney, to more easily navigate the legal system. 

An underage child charged with a DUI could face jail time, but the state also emphasizes rehabilitation when possible. Understanding the steps to take can make a proactive difference in securing a better future for your child.