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There can be long-term consequences for those who drink and drive while under the age of 21 in Virginia. First, it is illegal for teens to be consuming alcohol to begin with. When they do so and choose to get behind the wheel of a car, there can be a multitude of penalties that can have life-altering consequences. Understanding the laws of the state when it comes to underage drunk driving can help when confronted with these charges in protecting your future and your rights.

A person under the age of 21 is not allowed to drive after consuming alcohol. If there is a blood alcohol content of a least 0.02 percent but less than 0.08 percent, it will constitute a violation of the law. This will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. With a conviction, the underage person will have the driver's license rescinded for one year from the date of the conviction. There will also be a fine for up to $500 or the requirement to perform 50 hours of community service.

This is in addition to the license being suspended immediately for seven days after the summons or citation. If it is a second offense, the suspension will be for 60 days. If the suspension has not expired, it will do so on the day and time of the trial. With a third offense, the suspension will be until the day and time of the trial. The person will have the ability to take part in an Alcohol Safety Action Program and be issued a restricted license while the license is suspended.

Juveniles make mistakes and that can include underage drunk driving. The litany of punishments that accompany being charged and convicted with drunk driving are significant and can follow an underage person around as he or she tries to move on. This is why it is important to stage a strong legal defense. It is possible that the traffic stop was conducted illegally or the breath test was faulty. Assessing the options available to those who have been charged with underage driving under the influence of alcohol is imperative in any case. This could ultimately result in the defendant reducing the charges or dismissing them altogether.

Source: law.lis.virginia.gov, "18.2-266.1. Persons under age 21 driving after illegally consuming alcohol; penalty.," accessed on May 30, 2016

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