Fredericksburg Underage DUI Lawyer

It is against the law for anyone to drive under the influence. It is also illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to even possess alcohol. Someone who is under 21-years-old can be charged with a DUI the same way as anyone who is over 21 years of age can be charged. Also, it is illegal for someone who is under the legal drinking age of 21 to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is higher than 0.02, which is a significantly lower standard than an adult.

If a person who is under 21 years of age has any alcohol on their breath, they are likely to be charged with driving under the influence. A DUI charge can bring about serious consequences for the offender, such as fines, license suspension, and time in jail. If you are under the age of 21 and have been arrested for drinking and driving, seek the services of a Fredericksburg underage DUI lawyer who will fight by your side throughout the legal process. A seasoned DUI attorney could mitigate the penalties that you face.

Possession and Blood Alcohol Content

Someone under the age of 21 can be charged with possession of alcohol, which is a separate offense from DUI. This means the person is facing additional charges. If someone has a container of alcohol in their car, it is common for them to be charged with having an open container. For those who are under the age of 21, they are going to be charged both with having an open container and with possession of alcohol.

The possession of alcohol itself is a Class 1 misdemeanor. While driving under the influence under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of 0.02 is not viewed as being as serious of an offense as driving under the influence, they could face the same penalties than someone who is above the legal drinking age but driving above the legal limit. A person who is accused of driving under the legal drinking age with any blood alcohol content is likely to lose their driver’s license, have to complete the state’s alcohol education class (VASAP), and have their driver’s license suspended for a significant period of time. However, they may apply for a restricted driver’s license during that period.

Determining Impairment in an Underage Driver

A police officer and the court uses the same procedure to determine if an underage driver is impaired as with someone who is 21-years-old or older. The main evidence the police officer uses to determine if someone is intoxicated includes:

  • Speech
  • Level of balance and cadence
  • Blood-shot eyes
  • Smell of alcohol

This police can supervise some of these procedures by conducting a series of field sobriety tests. Although, these are the same ways an officer looks for clues of intoxication for someone who is older 21, however, the police may be more suspicious of intoxication with a younger person. If the officer makes an arrest for a DUI, it is vital for the individual to contact an underage DUI lawyer in Fredricksburg as soon as possible.

Court Location for Underage DUI

Underage DUI cases almost always begin in the General District Court. Most cases are completed in the General District Court as with all other Misdemeanor cases. In Virginia, there are two trials courts, a General District Court and a Circuit Court. The General District Court handles a much larger number of cases, which means misdemeanor cases typically start in General District Court. Misdemeanor cases have a trial in General District Court with a judge hearing the trial. A person who is charged even with a Misdemeanor in Virginia has their Constitutional rights to have a trial by a jury. This cannot happen in General District Court because the General District Court does not have jury trials.

Someone who is charged with an underage DUI in northern Virginia has their case in General District Court and a judge will consider the case to determine whether or not they are guilty. If the judge determines that person is guilty, the defendant can appeal their case and have a brand new trial in the Circuit Court where they can request a jury to hear their case. If someone is facing an underage DUI offense, it is essential that they obtain a Fredricksburg underage DUI lawyer right away.

Value of a Fredericksburg Underage DUI Attorney

A DUI offense is already a serious offense, but it could have severe implications for those who are underage. It could affect someone’s criminal record as well as affecting their school record. It could also impact an individual’s access to jobs. If a person has been charged with an underage DUI offense, they should speak with a Fredericksburg underage DUI lawyer that could help them build a solid defense.