Teens like to test boundaries, and one way they do it is by drinking alcohol before they’re allowed to consume it legally. This is one boundary that could have significant lifetime consequences if they break it. Underage drinking can ruin lives.
Fortunately, the Pendleton Law Group can help. Our underage drinking lawyers in Richmond can help your son or daughter avoid or reduce criminal penalties. We will do our best to defend your minor child from the charge of underage drinking.
Potential Penalties for Underage Drinking in Virginia
In Virginia, the standard penalty for purchasing or consuming alcohol when you’re under the age of 21 is a $500 fine or 50 hours of community service. This is a misdemeanor crime, but because it involves alcohol, it has other effects.
The DMV may suspend your child’s license or set up additional requirements for them to get a license. This can make it harder for them to get and keep a job, or even go to school. However, with help from our criminal defense attorneys, we may prevent this from happening.
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Purchasing Alcohol With a Fake ID
Trying to purchase alcohol with a fake ID exposes your child to additional punishment. If they are caught with a fake ID, that is a class 1 misdemeanor and adds on a punishment of up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year in jail, on top of the previous penalty.
Furthermore, a license suspension is almost certain with a fake ID conviction. Your child could lose their license for up to a year if they are caught with a fake ID.
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Underage Drinking and Driving in Virginia
Virginia, like most states, has a zero tolerance approach to underage drinking and driving. If any alcohol is detected in your child’s system while they’re behind the wheel, they will lose their license for a year.
This is not the normal 0.08% BAC intoxication standard for adults. Any amount of detectable alcohol could lead to an underage drinking charge if they are behind the wheel. At the weight of most teens, a single drink is enough. You can fight these criminal charges against your child with an experienced underage drinking attorney in Richmond on your side.
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What if a Teenager Is Drinking Alcohol at Home?
Virginia allows one exception to the underage drinking laws. Parents, guardians, and over-21 spouses of minors may serve alcohol to their family in their presence at home. Thus, as a parent, you can show your children how to drink responsibly.
However, this does not mean that you can serve their friends. Supplying alcohol to minors that aren’t yours without the presence of their parents or guardians will expose you to class 1 misdemeanor penalties as well. Plus, there is the possibility of civil charges if they get hurt.
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Underage Drinking at School
Drinking on school grounds holds some of the stiffest underage drinking penalties in Richmond, and one you’ll definitely need a lawyer for. Schools in Virginia must report any consumption of alcohol on school property to law enforcement.
Your child could face fines of up to $1000 and up to six months in jail for drinking on school property, besides any punishment given by the school. You will need a Richmond underage drinking attorney if the authorities catch your child in this situation.
Alcohol Education for Minors in Richmond, VA
Sometimes, we may be able to reduce or remove criminal penalties in underage drinking cases in Richmond by persuading the court to enroll your child in an alcohol education program. First offenders have a greater chance.
These classes can help your child avoid jail time while still sending a powerful message to them about the dangers of alcohol consumption. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, it may not be possible to trade education for jail time and fines.
Get a Richmond Underage Drinking Attorney on Your Side
Most teens get scared when they understand how much trouble they’re in after getting caught drinking by the police. We can help them and protect them, but it starts with you. Contact the Pendleton Law Group’s underage drinking lawyers in Richmond by calling the number on your screen or using our contact form. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours.
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