Underage drinking happens every day. Technically, you should never have an under-21 DUI case because no one who is under 21 is old enough to drink. But the prevalence of underage drinking makes this an unavoidable reality.
In fact, DUI arrests could be more likely for those who are under 21 since they will be trying to hide the activity. For instance, if a 16-year-old drinks at a party on the weekend and then needs to go home, he or she will likely not call their parents instead of driving. Calling them would expose the underage drinking and land them in trouble at home. Thus, they can then wind up facing legal trouble. The same may even be true of spending the night at the party if their parents told them to be home at a certain time. In the end, they try to drive home to avoid these ramifications, but that could lead to even more serious charges.
To compound this issue, Virginia has underage DUI laws, known as zero-tolerance laws. While the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for those 21 and older is .08%, it is just .02% for those 21. That is low enough that even consuming a few sips of a single drink could be enough for an arrest. That teenager trying to get home may not feel intoxicated, but he or she could still face serious legal charges if arrested.
At a young age, these types of significant charges can have a massive impact on the rest of a person’s life. It is important for both teens and their parents to know what defense options they have to fight these charges.