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5 Answers to 5 Common Questions About Virginia Underage DUI

Some call it “underage DUI.” Others call it “baby DUI.” The charge we’re referring to involves drivers under the age of 21 and a stricter blood alcohol content (BAC) standard than the regular 0.08. Underage Virginia drivers who have a BAC of at least .02 but less than .08 will be charged with underage DUI. This charge of underage DUI can also be levied against any underage driver who was witnessed consuming alcohol by a police officer. 

Dealing with an underage DUI charge? We know you’re stressed and have numerous questions. We answer five important ones below.

  1. What is the punishment for an underage DUI conviction in Virginia?

A true underage DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. A conviction for this offense requires a minimum $500 fine to be paid, in addition to a one-year driver’s license suspension. Judges might offer 50 hours (or more) of community service in lieu of the mandatory fine. Penalties are more severe for repeat offenders. 

Drivers younger than 21 who are caught with a BAC of .08 or higher will be charged with a standard DUI, which carries more severe penalties than underage DUI. Standard DUIs carry the possibility of a fine and license suspensions. In contrast to underage DUI, though, Virginians convicted of a standard DUI face a possible one-year jail sentence. 

  1. How does a driver’s license suspension work for underage DUIs?

Drivers convicted of underage DUI in Virginia face a one-year license suspension. However, drivers usually face license suspensions even before a finding of guilt. If a driver younger than 21 either refused to take a breath or blood test or had a BAC of .02 or above, the police will confiscate the driver’s license for seven days. That pretrial suspension period increases to 60 days for a second arrest. Any subsequent arrests for underage DUI will result in a license suspension that lasts until a conviction or acquittal. 

  1. Is there a way to go around a license suspension?

In a way, yes. As stated above, convictions for a DUI (underage or not) will result in a one-year license suspension. However, drivers who are comfortable with installing an ignition interlock device (IID) on their car may be eligible for a restricted driver’s license or, even, an “any-purpose” restricted license thanks to a new law. 

Some drivers opt for a true restricted license, which lets them go to essential places—work and school, for example—during the one-year post-conviction period. Drivers with a true restricted license must have the IID for six months after a conviction. However, drivers who want more freedom with their restricted license may install the IID and leave it there for the full 12 months. 

  1. Is a driver convicted of underage DUI required to attend an alcohol safety course? 

Not necessarily. Drivers are generally required to attend the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) after a conviction for standard DUI. This program usually consists of a series of classes for first-time DUI offenders. Those convicted of underage DUI in Virginia are eligible to attend VASAP; completion of VASAP courses could make it easier to obtain a restricted license. 

  1. Will I get kicked out of college for an underage DUI conviction?

The answer to this question largely depends on your college’s code of conduct. Most higher-learning institutions stipulate some type of penalty for a DUI arrest or conviction. However, universities and colleges do not rely on convictions to punish students. These educational institutions’ disciplinary procedures operate outside of the criminal justice system. Common penalties from colleges include revoking on-campus housing, scholarships, and memberships in university sports teams. 

Contact Us as Soon as You Can

Calling an aggressive and experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney should be your first move after you or your child gets charged with underage DUI. Proactive legal representation can go a long way toward getting your life back to normal. Take charge of your stress today by contacting the team at Norton Pelt; we will represent you with the Strength of the Mountain.

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