Underage Drinking Attorney in Virginia

In Virginia, the law prohibits anyone under age 21 from buying, possessing, or consuming any alcoholic beverage.

Still, underage drinking is common, and young people continue to be arrested for the offense. Although it may seem to be nothing more than a youthful indiscretion, a criminal conviction for underage drinking can have a long-term, negative impact on a person’s educational and career prospects.

If you have been charged with an underage drinking offense in Richmond or anywhere else in Virginia, you will need an experienced advocate in your corner. Turn to Virginia underage drinking lawyer Samantha Upton for help fighting the charges and defending your rights, future, and freedom. Samantha provides straightforward advice and compassionate legal representation. She will help you understand your options and do everything possible to avoid the potentially harsh consequences of an underage drinking conviction in Virginia.

Contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free and confidential consultation.

How a Virginia Underage Drinking Attorney Can Help with Your Case

Virginia underage drinking defense attorney Samantha Upton can help you fight for the best possible outcome in your case by:

  • Taking the time to ensure you understand your legal rights and options and the potential or likely outcomes in your case.
  • Advising you on steps you can take to put yourself in a better position to secure a more favorable outcome.
  • Ensuring you know what to expect at every stage of your case, including your possible defenses and your plea options.
  • Quoting you a flat fee for legal representation so you know what your case will cost no matter how much legal work it takes. You will never have to worry about running up a bill just to talk to your lawyer.

Common College Student Offenses

Law enforcement officers often target college students for underage drinking offenses. Some of the most common alcohol-related charges that college students face in Virginia are:

  • Being a minor in possession of alcohol (including purchasing alcohol and furnishing alcoholic beverages to other underage individuals).
  • Possession of a fake ID.
  • Driving under the influence, or DUI. (In Virginia, a driver under the age of 21 may be charged with a DUI if the minor’s blood alcohol concentration is at least 0.02 percent.)
  • Possession of alcohol on school grounds. (Under Virginia law, school officials must report any student found in possession of alcohol or with alcohol in their system to local law enforcement.)
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Consequences of an Underage Drinking Conviction

The penalties you might face for an underage alcohol-related conviction will vary based on the type of offense.

For example, if you are charged with buying alcohol when you are under the age of 21, or giving alcohol to other persons under 21, you will face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. The offense carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a possible fine of up to $2,500. You may also face the suspension of your driver’s license.

Consuming alcohol while underage carries potential penalties that include:

  • A mandatory fine of at least $500 or
  • A mandatory minimum of 50 hours of community service as a condition of probation.
  • Driver’s license suspension of six months to one year if you are 18 to 20 years old. (If you are under age 18, you may face the revocation of your license for one year or until you turn 18, whichever is later.)

You may be convicted of an underage DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.02 percent or higher. (The normal legal limit for adults age 21 and older is 0.08 percent). Penalties for an underage DUI conviction include a mandatory minimum fine of $500, the obligation to perform community service, and a one-year suspension of your driving privileges.

Of course, a conviction for an underage alcohol-related offense can negatively affect educational and professional opportunities as well. A college, university, or vocational school may deny you admission if you have an underage drinking conviction on your record. If you commit an offense while in school, your institution may expel you or kick you out of student housing – especially if your infraction takes place on school grounds. Employers may also decline to hire you with an underage drinking conviction on your criminal record. Because of these collateral consequences, it is crucial that you seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible.

Expungement for Underage Drinking

n Virginia, most juvenile records are automatically expunged after five years, provided you are at least 19 years old. However, if you commit an underage drinking offense after you have turned age 18, your options for expunging an underage drinking conviction from your record will become limited.

If your underage drinking charge is your first criminal offense, you might be entitled to seek admission to the first-time offender deferment program. If you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed, and you can avoid a conviction record. However, the record of your arrest may continue to exist and impact your career and educational opportunities.

To qualify for expungement of an arrest record in Virginia, you must either have been found not guilty, or the prosecutor must have dropped the charge against you. You must also prove to the court that your record will cause you to suffer “manifest injustice” if the expungement is not granted.

Talk to an Underage Drinking Lawyer in Virginia Now

If you have been charged with an alcohol-related offense while under the age of 21, the consequences can be damaging and long-lasting. To protect your future, you need to talk to a Richmond criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Get in touch with Upton Law, PLLC today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. You can speak to an experienced, straightforward Virginia underage drinking lawyer about all your legal rights and options and learn more about how you can put this incident firmly in the past and move toward a brighter future.

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