The DMV website states Virginia has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. If a Fairfax driver under age 21 is convicted of driving after illegally consuming alcohol, and has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.02 and 0.08, the penalties include a one year suspended driving privilege and a minimum mandatory fine of $500 or completion of at least 50 hours of community service.
Virginia Laws Related to Underage Drinking
The Commonwealth of Virginia has strict laws and severe consequences for underage possession and consumption of any alcohol.
• It is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess, purchase, or consume alcohol.
• Virginia’s Zero Tolerance (Va. Code 18.2-266.1) law makes driving under the influence a serious criminal offense for drivers under age 21. Under Virginia law, the prosecutor only needs to prove that the underage defendant consumed enough alcohol to reach a 0.02 BAC. In practice, the underage defendant may not appear intoxicated, but can still be convicted.
• No altered or fake ID (driver’s license, birth certificate or student identification card) can be used to purchase alcohol.
• Violators of the Underage Possession law (Va. Code 4.1-305) are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and face a mandatory minimum fine of $500 up to $2,500 and/or 50 hours of community service, and/or a year in jail, and can lose their driver’s license for 6 months up to a year depending upon conviction and sentencing.
Almost all states have lowered the BAC threshold for drivers under 21 years old, and elevated penalties against all impaired drivers. Fairfax Police have increased DUI arrests; and social action groups such as MADD and SADD support violator prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
Conviction in the Fairfax County, Virginia courts has immediate and far-reaching consequences. Fines and suspended driving privileges threaten the ability to maintain a job or afford school. It can also affect eligibility for financial aid and acceptance to higher education. Under the Virginia zero tolerance law convictions remain on your criminal record for life if the defendant is 18 or older.
Contact the DUI specialists at Boone Beale for a knowledgeable attorney with experience in the court system in Fairfax County to get the individual attention you need to properly defend against the long-term effects of underage drinking and driving.