In the United States, drinking, possessing, and purchasing alcohol is prohibited for individuals under 21 years of age. Virginia law treats underage offenders very seriously. Because underage drivers are prohibited from consuming alcohol, getting pulled over while intoxicated is likely to result in a DUI charge. An experienced Virginia underage DUI attorney can provide information on what steps you should take next.
Underage DUI Cases in Fairfax, Fauquier & Prince William County
In Virginia, it is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.02 or higher. This is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means it is the most serious type of misdemeanor. If you were stopped by an officer while driving alone or with friends and subjected to a field sobriety test and then arrested for DUI, it is vital that you obtain the assistance of a Virginia DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone as soon as possible.
We are devoted to the defense of young people who are facing the consequences of a DUI charge. We know how to defend charges, and the firm knows how to help you. The firm’s Manassas, Virginia DUI attorney is zealous in fighting for any advantage for underage clients and is prepared to evaluate your situation and advise you of the various options that could help.
Charged with DUI While Under 21?
Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. If you are underage, you can be convicted of DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08.
The officer conducts a field sobriety test to gather evidence that the driver was impaired. This simply means that the driver’s physical ability to control the vehicle and his or her judgment was affected by drugs or alcohol or a combination of the two. The driver will also be required to take a blood test or a breath test to determine his or her BAC level.
If the BAC is over 0.02 but is below 0.08 the penalties involved can include:
- Mandatory attendance at a Virginia Alcohol Safety Action program
- Fine of up to $500
- Up to 50 hours of community service
- License suspension
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Along with criminal consequences, DUI convictions alter the lives of individuals in other ways that may not be immediately recognized.
Higher Insurance Rates
Young drivers face insurance rates that are significantly higher than those of older drivers. In Virginia, drivers convicted of DUI often have to get insurance coverage above the standard minimum limits and provide proof of coverage by filing a Financial Responsibility Certificate with the state. Thus, a DUI conviction can result in high out-of-pocket costs that will fall directly on you.
College Applications and Scholarships
Some colleges and universities prohibit students from engaging in specified misconduct out of fear it will reflect badly on the reputation of the institution. Many schools have implemented policies that specifically prohibit their students from engaging in certain activities, such as driving under the influence. Receiving a DUI conviction while enrolled in a college or university with such a policy can lead to severe consequences, including loss of scholarship money, disqualification from extracurricular activities, or even expulsion.
DUI convictions appear on your background check and will be apparent to future employers who perform background checks prior to offering you a job. While you may be able to explain that the conviction occurred when you were underage and you have since matured from such careless behavior, it is not guaranteed that the employer will care.
If you are underage and have been charged with DUI, it is crucial you talk to a Virginia underage DUI lawyer as soon as possible. We understand the stress and frustration you are feeling in the face of these charges and are committed to providing you the defense you deserve.
Building a DUI Defense with a Manassas, Virginia DUI Lawyer
An officer must have a valid reason for making a traffic stop and cannot stop a driver for any reason. You cannot be stopped merely because it is late at night or to find out where the driver is going. The field sobriety test, even when conducted precisely, is extremely subjective and these tests have a huge margin of error. The breath test device can be out of calibration and can give an inaccurate reading. The results of a blood test can be inaccurate administered incorrectly, giving a false reading. A resourceful underage Virginia DUI lawyer will conduct an intensive examination of every aspect of the traffic stop, the testing and much more to find grounds for a dismissal of the charges or to have the charges reduced.
It is very important to avoid conviction on a DUI charge which will remain on your record and continue to impact your car insurance and employment opportunities for many years to come. Our Virginia underage DUI attorney understands the stress and concern that is a result of facing criminal charges. You can be confident that we will fight aggressively in your defense. If you are underage and were arrested and charged with DUI, get help today! We will fight for you.
Call Attorney Michael Pignone to discuss your defense with a highly qualified, experienced Manassas DUI lawyer with a long track record of success.