Virginia Beach Underage DUI Lawyer

Although all DUI charges are serious offenses that carry significant consequences, DUI charges for someone under the age of 21 can sometimes be even more serious due to the long term ramifications and the impact it can have on education or employment. With this in mind, if you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge while underage it is imperative you consult with a Virginia Beach underage DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the case and begin preparing a defense. The following is more information on what you should know about these charges and how a DUI lawyer in Virginia Beach can help you.

Difference Between Regular and Underage DUI Charges

Someone who’s underage who’s pulled over for a DUI is going to a have a different standard of BAC. The limit is lower, at a 0.02 instead of a 0.08, which essentially makes it so that any amount of alcohol in the person’s system is going to be enough for a DUI conviction or a charge. Some people refer to this as a baby DUI but it’s still a DUI charge that follows the same general procedure as a regular DUI.

How Underage DUIs are Treated In Court

Prosecutors take underage DUI cases very seriously and judges aren’t likely to be lenient on someone who is that young and drinking and driving. The important thing to them is to not let anybody slide because these people need to be taught a lesson according to the prosecutors and judges, so that this issue does not recur and it’s nipped in the bud by handling it aggressively the first time.

The sentences in general for underage DUIs are pretty similar to adult DUIs, but there are actually additional consequences as well. They have a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and 50 hours of community service that need to be completed. This is on top of the typical requirements of a mandatory license suspension for 12 months with the possibility of a restricted license and ignition interlock and a treatment or education or counseling program and such generally the standard. There are the possibilities of jail time as well but that’s not generally the first thing that they jump to with underage drinking. To learn what penalties you may be facing call a Virginia Beach underage DUI attorney today.

Alternative Sentences in Virginia Beach Underage DUI Cases

Generally the alternative to jail time is community service which is usually what the judges will prefer for underage because it seems a lot more effective to have them proactively doing something for the community such as community service instead of sitting in jail. Unless the circumstances were really bad, that means an injury occurred or it was really egregious or if the defendant had a really high BAC or a prior record, then community service generally will be preferred.

DUI Charges and Students

It’s going to depend on the university, but in general, a lot of universities have codes of conduct which have policies in place that will punish someone in addition to whatever the legal punishments are for a DUI conviction. It can cause a student to be put on probation or to lose certain privileges or even lose some of their scholarships and grants. Convictions and charges for criminal matters are public so it’s definitely possible that the university will find out even if you don’t disclose it to them.

It’s not necessarily likely because it’s not usual for universities to be checking up on their students for information like that, but if it happens to be mentioned in the newspaper or if someone happens to be browsing on the court website it’s definitely something that’s not hidden from the public.

What Parents Should Know About Underage DUI Charges

Parents should know what the implications of a DUI are for their child’s future and immediate consequences. A lot of times parents don’t really see the importance of the seriousness of the charge. They don’t make a big deal out of it which is a huge mistake because a DUI conviction and any other comparable misdemeanor charge could result in a permanent criminal record even if the person is 18 years old and just beginning their adult life. It’s not something that they should see as a quick lesson that their kid has to learn the hard way. The reality is that a conviction for a DUI is going to follow somebody for the rest of their life and therefore warrants attention from an underage DUI lawyer in Virginia Beach as soon as possible.

In the short term, the penalties aren’t very lenient – with the possibility of jail time, fines community service, treatment programs, increased insurance premiums, a license suspension for a full year, and also an ignition interlock system put into their car. These are difficult consequences for anybody, especially somebody who’s trying to get a college education. Parents should be aware of all that right from the beginning and they should be ready to be supportive of their child and to help them out in any way possible.

Importance of Hiring An Virginia Beach Underage DUI Lawyer

It’s important because somebody who’s charged underage for a DUI should really be doing everything possible to keep it off of their record.  A lot of people mistakenly believe that it’s not a huge deal because since they are underage and they’re not legally an adult yet, the conviction won’t be there permanently forever. While it is true that it won’t show on someone’s adult record and it won’t come up in most background checks, it doesn’t necessarily disappear completely. Juvenile charges remain on somebody’s record either until they turn 19 or until five years have passed since the final hearing, whichever happens to be later.

The file won’t be public, but it will still be visible to law enforcement officers, judges, the DMV, probation officers and for other agencies and individuals that could petition the court to have the file opened. If the person goes on later and commits a separate crime, then their juvenile record comes back into play and will have an effect on the second crime as well. It doesn’t completely disappear and can still have a strong detrimental effect on someone’s future. A Virginia Beach underage DUI lawyer can help you fight this charge and potentially have it dismissed or reduced to something that isn’t a criminal charge so that these long term consequences won’t follow the defendant.