Alcohol and Minors in Virginia
The drinking age in the United States is 21. There are many different kinds of crimes in the Virginia criminal code that relate to alcohol and minors, defined here as anyone under the age of 21. If you or your child is charged with an alcohol related offense, you should contact a skilled juvenile offenses attorney as soon as possible. An alcohol related offense on a criminal record can result in serious present and future consequences.
While driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is a serious offense no matter who commits it, Virginia has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to underage people drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a car. While those 21 and over will be charged with DUI if they have a blood alcohol content of .08 or above, for minors the limit is only .02.
Underage Possession of Alcohol
It is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to attempt to purchase, purchase, consume, attempt to consume, or possess alcohol (with a few specific exceptions). Violating this statute is a class one misdemeanor. If someone is found guilty of violating this section they can face penalties of a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or alternatively, 50 hours of community service. If they are over 18, someone who has violated this section may also lose their license for six months to one year. The court also has the power to order someone to go to an alcohol treatment program.
Making or Using a Fake ID
It is also illegal to make a fake ID, use someone else’s ID, or alter a real ID in order to make a minor appear to be 21 or over so they can purchase alcohol. Violation of this section is a Class one misdemeanor and is punishable by a one year driver’s license suspension, a fine of up to $2,500, and up to one year in jail.
Buying Alcohol for Someone Under 21
If you are 21 or over and you buy alcohol for someone who is under the age of 21, you can be found guilty of a class one misdemeanor and spend up to one year and jail and pay a fine of up to $2,500.
Selling Alcohol to Someone Under 21
There are two different crimes related to selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21, and it depends on whether the seller knows or has reason to know that the person is under 21 or whether the seller just neglected to check their ID. The former is a class one misdemeanor and the latter is a class three misdemeanor.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you or a loved one are under the age of 21 and are charged with an alcohol related offense, you should contact a knowledgeable juvenile offenses attorney as soon as possible to prevent a young person from having a criminal record that will follow them wherever they go. Our experienced juvenile offenses attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP represent clients in Leesburg, Loudoun County and Frederick County and can defend your loved one against the charges they are facing.