Manassas Underage DUI Lawyer
Although drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal, many teens and college kids still participate. Drunk driving while underage is not an uncommon occurrence, but the consequences could be severe.
If you find yourself in this situation, a Manassas underage DUI lawyer could help. A seasoned drunk driving attorney could advocate for you in court and fight for your best interests.
Drinking is Against the Law for Minors
Driving while intoxicated is illegal in Manassas no matter a person’s age, but someone who is under 21 is not allowed to consume any alcohol in any situation. If pulled over, underage drivers may be under closer scrutiny and more likely to be arrested if there is suspicion of alcohol.
The officer only needs to have probable cause that the suspect illegally consumed alcohol, not necessarily that they are currently intoxicated as they are driving.
Are Underage Drivers Still Charged with a DUI?
Virginia Code § 18.2-266.1 provides two possibilities for an underage DUI. First, the driver could be charged with a standard DUI just like any person over age 21. A minor could also be charged with underage driving under the influence. This offense applies when a motorist is under 21 and has consumed alcohol or has a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .02 and .08. However, if their BAC is high enough to be illegal at any age, the consequences could be more severe.
Someone who is charged with underage DUI can be found guilty if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt either that they consumed alcohol illegally or that they were operating a car and had a BAC higher than 0.02 but less than 0.08. Someone can be found guilty even without a BAC test, however, if there was other evidence, such as an admission from the driver.
What if a Prosecutor Cannot Prove Impairment?
Manassas prosecutors do not need to prove impairment in underage DUI cases. Driving after consuming even a small amount of alcohol is illegal for anyone under the age of 21.
A prosecutor only needs to prove that the driver consumed alcohol, while proof of impairment would only come into play when they want to pursue a more serious charge.
Work with a Manassas Underage DUI Attorney
If you face underage DUI charges in the Manassas area, you should consider working with an attorney who is experienced in this particular locality. An attorney who is familiar with the Manassas court system may be more effective when fighting for a favorable outcome. Local attorneys often have a better idea of which judges and prosecutors accept certain arguments, or which type of mitigating evidence is going to be most helpful with individual prosecutors.
Underage DUI charges can lead to serious penalties, but strong defenses may be available in your case. With help from a knowledgeable lawyer, you could navigate the court system with confidence and assert your rights at every step. Reach out to a Manassas underage DUI lawyer today to discuss your situation.