An Insider's Guide: Fairfax DUI Lawyer Explains What Happens When Someone Under 21 Is Charged With A DUI
Accidents happen, but when they involve a DUI charge for someone under 21, the repercussions can be daunting. This in-depth guide, curated by an experienced Fairfax DUI Lawyer, will walk you through the nitty-gritty of what happens when a person under 21 is charged with a DUI. The complex legal landscape can be tricky to navigate; that's why you need a seasoned expert to steer you through it. This guide is supposed to be a starting point if you are facing these charges. If you have been charged or need immediate help, call Mr. R. Tyler Bezilla today for a free consultation.
The Initial Stop and Testing
Traffic stops can be unnerving, especially for young drivers. But what leads to such a stop? Typically, erratic driving patterns, violating traffic rules, or involvement in an accident could be triggers. Law enforcement officers then conduct a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer, or a blood test to check for impairment due to alcohol or drugs.
The Arrest and Charges
If the tests confirm impairment, the officer places the individual under arrest for DUI. Being under 21, the driver faces the "Zero Tolerance Law", which states that any measurable amount of alcohol in their system is grounds for a DUI charge. The statute specifically says that a someone under 21 can be charged with a DUI if they have a BAC of .02 to .07. Meaning, offenses which would not be a DUI for someone over 21, count as a DUI for younger drivers.
The Court Process
Facing a courtroom can be an intimidating experience. However, with the right guidance, one can understand and navigate the process. The court process begins with arraignment, where the charges are read, followed by pre-trial motions, negotiations, and possibly a trial.
The Repercussions of a DUI Charge
Criminal Record Implications
The immediate question that springs to mind is, "What does a DUI charge mean for my record?" A DUI charge and subsequent conviction can lead to a permanent criminal record, affecting future opportunities in employment, education, and more. It can lead to a loss of license and alcohol treatment programs, all of which is disruptive to a young person.
Penalties and Consequences
"What penalties am I staring at?" you might wonder. The penalties for a DUI conviction can vary but often include fines, probation, community service, and even imprisonment. For under-21 drivers, it also leads to license suspension, a deterrent to repeat offenses.
Impact on Insurance
A DUI conviction isn't just a legal problem; it creates financial hurdles too. It can cause a significant hike in auto insurance premiums, adding financial strain to an already stressful situation.
Defending Against a DUI Charge
Legal Defense Strategies
So, how can one defend against a DUI charge? An experienced Fairfax DUI lawyer can provide valuable guidance here. Strategies may include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the sobriety tests, and the procedures followed during arrest and processing.
The Role of a Fairfax DUI Lawyer
A skilled Fairfax DUI lawyer can make a significant difference in your case. They navigate the legal intricacies, advocate for you, and work to minimize the penalties and long-term impact of the DUI charge.
FAQs About Under-21 DUI Charges
- What is the legal blood alcohol limit for under-21 drivers in Fairfax? In Virginia, the legal limit for drivers under 21 is a BAC of 0.02%.
- What happens to my driver's license after a DUI arrest? In most cases, an under-21 driver's license is suspended for at least a year following a DUI charge.
- Can a DUI charge be expunged from my record? In Virginia, expunging a DUI charge is challenging and typically possible only if the charges were dismissed or if you were acquitted.
- What role does a DUI lawyer play in my defense? A DUI lawyer defends your rights, guides you through the legal process, and advocates for the best possible outcome.
- Can I refuse to take a breathalyzer? While you can technically refuse these tests, doing so can lead to penalties, including an automatic license suspension.
- Can I refuse Field Sobriety Tests?Yes, Virginia does not require a driver to submit to Field Sobriety Tests, nor does it have any standard tests. If you are stopped for a DUI, do not consent to these.
- How does a DUI conviction impact my future opportunities? A DUI conviction can create hurdles in job applications, higher education, and even certain housing opportunities due to the criminal record.
Understanding the ins and outs of a DUI charge for someone under 21 is crucial to navigating the situation. While this guide provides a general overview, the complexities of individual cases require expert legal advice. With the right legal counsel, such as a competent Fairfax DUI lawyer, it's possible to face the challenge head-on, minimize the repercussions, and move forward to a brighter future. If you are facing an underage DUI, call Mr. R. Tyler Bezilla today for a free consultation.