Richmond Underage DUI Lawyer
The legal drinking age in Virginia and throughout the rest of the United States is 21. Someone under that age is not permitted to consume alcohol, and will likely face serious penalties if they do. Additionally, Richmond prosecutes DUI offenses very harshly, and local prosecutors and judges will not show much leniency to someone who has been arrested for driving under the influence, especially someone who is explicitly disallowed from drinking.
As a result, an underage person might face additional charges and serious penalties on their driver’s license, which is why they will need the experienced knowledge and assistance of a Richmond underage DUI lawyer.
Underage DUI Laws in Richmond
Someone under the age of 21 will be charged with a DUI offense like any other person; however, it is specifically noted as an underage DUI. It does differ substantially from a standard DUI as it only requires that the individual under 21 blow anywhere between a 0.02 to a 0.07. Therefore, if you were to blow in that range, you could be charged with an underage DUI. If you blow above that range, Richmond police officers have the option, again, of charging you with a standard DUI and/or the underage version.
If an individual is under 21, the factors used to determine alcohol-related impairment are different. For an underage DUI, the blood alcohol level can be anywhere from a 0.02 to a 0.07, whereas with an adult or a typical DUI, there is a presumption of intoxication at an 0.08 blood alcohol level. This means that underage drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence will be charged with an underage DUI, even though they are technically within the legal limit for someone 21 or over.
How Underage DUIs Are Handled in Court
The way an underage DUI is handled will greatly depend on the age of the individual. If the individual is under 18, the matter will be handled in juvenile court. If the individual is above 18, he or she will be in Richmond General District Court. With an underage DUI, it is slightly different from how a typical DUI progresses; the penalties do not typically result in jail, but only a fine and/or community service. There is a requirement for enrollment in an alcohol program as well as a yearlong license suspension.
Judges and prosecutors handle these cases very vigorously, and they will seek to impose a conviction to send a message to the juvenile, or to the individual under the age of 21. Prosecutors do not necessarily seek to impose a harsher sentence, but in most cases, they are less likely to negotiate for a reduction because they want to send a message to the juvenile that driving under the influence will not be tolerated.
Alcohol Education Courses
Alcohol education programs are often times a good idea for someone after a DUI charge. If they have a problem with alcohol, an alcohol education course will hopefully help a person conquer their dependence. Additionally, a person’s Richmond DUI lawyer will be able to bring up their attendance in an alcohol education course as evidence that the person is seeking to remedy whatever mistakes they had previously made.