Trusted Virginia Underage Drinking Defense Attorney Ready To Assist You
If you or your son or daughter have/has been charged with underage drinking, call Bounds and Bounds, PLLC, immediately for a confidential, and honest case evaluation.
Over the decades our attorneys have practiced law, many of our clients have been first-time underage drinking or DUI/DWI offenders. Our attorneys can ease your child’s anxieties and yours as well, with an accurate account of what you can expect from the legal process in the state of Virginia.
It is our goal to eliminate all negative and/or long-term consequences that could be associated with the offense.
Underage Drinking Penalties
The penalties for underage drinking in our state vary according to the circumstances and facts of the particular case. With some exceptions, the general rule within the Commonwealth of Virginia is that, if you are under the age of 21 and found purchasing or consuming alcohol, you are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and will be subject to a minimum mandatory of $500 or 50 hours of community service.
But as always, there are exceptions to this general rule. If you consumed alcohol in a private residence and at least one parent, guardian, or spouse over the age of 21 is present, this creates an exception wherein you would not be charged with a crime.
Underage drinking on school grounds holds even steeper penalties. All schools are legally required to notify law enforcement if they suspect any student has been drinking on school property. If you are convicted of doing so, you will not only face disciplinary action by your school, the courts can fine you up to $1,000 and sentence you to up to 6 months in jail.
Using a fake ID can get you into trouble with the law as well. If you use a fake ID to establish a false identity and/or false age in order to buy alcohol, you are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and could face:
- Up to a $2,500 fine and/or one year in jail
- A minimum $500 fine or 50 hours of community service
- Possible loss of license for up to one year
Underage Drinking And Driving
If you or your child has been charged with underage drinking and driving in Virginia, it’s important to understand the severity of the penalties. Virginia has a “Zero Tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. If convicted, those under the age of 21 face the loss of their driver’s license for one year from the date of conviction, a $500 fine, or 50 hours of community service. It’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced Virginia underage drinking laws lawyer to defend your case and protect your rights.
Liability Of Parents For Underage Drinking
There are parents who feel that it is safer for teenagers and their friends to drink at home with a parent present than to be left to their own devices. However, in Virginia, doing so comes with potential costs. If you were to allow your teen and some friends to imbibe at your home, you would be risking criminal and civil liability. For instance, if an underage guest drinks too much of their alcohol and gets hurt as a result, they could be sued personally by the partygoer or their family for the child’s injuries.
That is the civil side of the equation. Criminally, things get even worse.
According to the Alcohol Beverage Control law of Virginia (Code of Virginia 4.1-200(7)), it is legal for someone to keep and possess alcoholic beverages in their home for personal use or for the use of his family. This means, as a parent, you may allow your underage child to consume alcohol while at home and in your presence. Your child may legally drink in your presence while at another residence as well.
However, it is illegal for a parent to serve alcohol to any guests in their home that are under the age of 21 and not accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is at least 21 years of age. Anyone who purchases or otherwise provides alcohol to an underage person who is not in the presence of their parent or guardian is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Such a person could face jail time of up to 12 months and/or be fined up to $2,500.
To discuss your traffic violations or criminal defense case in Virginia, please contact our law office today by phone, fax, or email to schedule a free consultation. Once we have discussed the details of your case, we can begin developing strategies on your behalf. Our attorneys have experience in underage drinking cases and frequently represent students from local universities, including the following.
- University of Richmond
- Randolph Macon
- Virginia Commonwealth University
- Virginia State University
- John Tyler Community College
- J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
As your criminal defense lawyers, we will work hard to make laws such as the deferred judgment and expungement statutes work to your advantage. Our staff will do everything in their power to assure that this charge does not become a blemish on your (or your son or daughter’s) record.
Throughout the legal process, we strive to be consistently available for any late-breaking questions, issues or concerns that might arise. The number to call for your consultation: 804-361-3402.
Contact our law firm, Bounds and Bounds, PLLC, by phone, fax or email, and discuss what’s happened in a free phone or internet consultation. With an office in Richmond, we provide representation across all of Virginia.