Virginia “ZERO TOLERANCE” Law for Underage Drinking and Driving

Virginia law VA Code 18.2-266.1 punishes juveniles and persons under the age of 21 who are caught driving after illegally consuming alcohol with a BAC between .02 and .07. Driving after illegally consuming alcohol is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor charge in Virginia criminal code. Punishment must include forfeiture of drivers license for 1 year from date of conviction, a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or 50 hours of community service. Alcohol safety education classes are not mandatory but are optional if the juvenile wishes to seek a restricted driver’s license.

Juveniles under age 18 who are prosecuted in the Juvenile court system may be eligible for expungement of the charge. Persons over age 18 are prosecuted as adults in the District Court system and will have a criminal record upon conviction of the underage drinking and driving 18.2-266.1 misdemeanor charge.

If your BAC was above .08, then even being under age 21 will not save you from the 18.2-266 DWI punishment.

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This article is written by top rated Virginia defense attorney Marina Medvin. She successfully represents individuals charged with alcohol-related arrests in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Vienna and Falls Church. In addition to her Juris Doctorate degree, Ms. Medvin has a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree from Penn State, where she graduated in the Top 10% of her class. Both a legal and a science background is recommended for defense of alcohol cases because of the scientific and chemical analysis of the Blood Alcohol Content. Please call for an attorney consultation request.

Va Law § 18.2-266.1. Persons under age 21 driving after illegally consuming alcohol; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to operate any motor vehicle after illegally consuming alcohol. Any such person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.02 grams or more per 210 liters of breath but less than 0.08 by weight by volume or less than 0.08 grams per 210 liters of breath as indicated by a chemical test administered as provided in this article shall be in violation of this section.B. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Punishment shall include (i) forfeiture of such person’s license to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year from the date of conviction and (ii) a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or performance of a mandatory minimum of 50 hours of community service. This suspension period shall be in addition to the suspension period provided under § 46.2-391.2. The penalties and license forfeiture provisions set forth in §§ 16.1-278.9, 18.2-270 and 18.2-271 shall not apply to a violation of this section. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be eligible to attend an Alcohol Safety Action Program under the provisions of § 18.2-271.1 and may, in the discretion of the court, be issued a restricted license during the term of license suspension.C. Notwithstanding §§ 16.1-278.8 and 16.1-278.9, upon adjudicating a juvenile delinquent based upon a violation of this section, the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall order disposition as provided in subsection B.


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