Prince William County Underage DUI Lawyer
The laws concerning individuals under the age of 21 who are pulled over for suspicion of DUI are generally the same as for adults, although the burden of proof of is lower to prove the extent of intoxication and the legal penalties are more severe. Unlike the standard legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content for adults, the legal limit for underage drivers is only a BAC of .02, which is easy to reach after consuming even one alcoholic beverage.
There is a separate DUI statute from the main adult DUI law that applies to underage consumption DUIs, although underage DUIs are still considered to be DUIs. Juvenile DUIs are always prosecuted in the juvenile court unless a juvenile is tried as an adult for a felony in Circuit Court, or a juvenile appeals a misdemeanor juvenile-court DUI conviction to Circuit Court.
A Prince William County underage DUI lawyer could fight for you if you or your child are facing charges. Let a seasoned DUI attorney advocate for you.
What an Underage Person Should Expect About the DUI Process
Someone under the age of 18 should expect their DUI case to involve multiple court dates, and plea offers by prosecutors that are only moderately favorable compared to adult DUI plea offers. This is the case even if the accused has no criminal history or prior driving infractions. If convicted, there will be a minimum $500 fine and an automatic license revocation for one year. It is possible to get a restricted license during that year of revocation after enrolling in ASAP, but not guaranteed. Depending on the accused’s age, there might also be a mandatory administrative penalty to take an approved eight-hour driver improvement program for no positive point reward. A defendant under the age of 21 should expect to face similar penalties. For more information, consult with an underage DUI lawyer in Prince William County.
Difference Between Underage DUIs and Standard DUI Cases
Due to the threshold BAC limit being so low for juvenile consumption DUIs, they are much more challenging to win at trial. Most of these cases resolve in plea bargains unless the accused has an unusually strong legal defense, rather than just standard mitigating circumstances. Most juveniles have not been driving long enough to have developed a notably good or bad driving record by the time of their juvenile DUI case.
A Prince William County minor DUI case is almost always heard in the PWC Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, which is on the first floor of the county courthouse located in Manassas, Virginia. If one has any questions, they should seek a consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer.
How Do Prosecutors and Judges Treat Underage DUI Cases
Someone under the age of 18 should expect the process of their DUI case to involve more efforts by prosecutors, parents, police, and judges in order to teach a lesson to the juvenile defendant about drinking and driving, in a way that is more dramatic than how normal adult cases are handled. This is because there is an added layer of culpability to juvenile consumption DUIs since the original consumption of alcohol was also illegal on top of the subsequent driving behavior, especially if the juvenile was not validly or fully licensed at the time of the DUI.
Juvenile DUI sentences are slightly worse than adult DUI sentences in terms of having a higher mandatory fine, and a non-guaranteed eligibility to get a restricted license during the year following the date of conviction. The collateral administrative consequences from the Virginia DMV are also notably worse for juvenile DUI defendants if convicted.
Call a Prince William County Underage DUI Attorney Today
Juvenile DUI convictions can easily derail a minor’s immediate life prospects in terms of school, jobs, and extra-curricular activities that require the ability to drive and a clean criminal record. They are also a significant red flag on insurance rates and policies and set the juvenile defendant up for receiving enhanced DUI charges if they drink and drive again after turning 21. If there is any way to significantly avoid or lessen the impact of an underage DUI conviction, a Prince William County underage DUI lawyer is a person’s best bet in figuring that out and implementing an effective defense strategy. It is crucial for defendants to work with a seasoned and dedicated attorney when facing a DUI charge.