Underage DUI Lawyers in Martinsburg, WV, Protecting the Future of Minors Charged With Drinking Offenses
If you have a family member who has been charged with underage DUI, you are probably worried and scared about what will happen next in the legal process. An underage DUI conviction can cause an individual to lose their license, face other charges such as minor in possession, and termination of their insurance policy.
One of the best measures you can take to help protect your family member is to hire an experienced underage DUI lawyer who can fight to make certain their rights and future are protected. Contact the law offices of Hinkle Law, PLLC, and ask to schedule a free consultation with a legal team member who can review your case and explain your legal options.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Legally Drink in West Virginia?
West Virginia law dictates that individuals must be at least 21 years of age to consume alcohol legally. The law also goes on to state that any individual under the age of 21 may not possess or sell alcohol. Additionally, minors are not permitted to buy, possess, consume, or sell any non-intoxicating beer. Non-intoxicating beer includes any beverages that are brewed or fermented and contain between one and a half of one percent to twelve percent alcohol by volume. Furthermore, it is illegal for a minor to knowingly provide false information to obtain or consume alcohol, such as using a fake id.
There are certain exceptions to this law, including minors assisting with compliance investigations and employment. Additionally, a minor is also permitted to possess or consume alcohol provided to them by a family member who is related to them by blood or marriage.
What Are the Penalties For Underage DUI?
For individuals who are of legal age, the allowable limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent. However, for individuals under the age of 21, the allowable limit drops significantly to that of .02 percent.
If an individual is under 21 and is convicted of underage DUI, they face steep fines as well as potential jail time. If the offender is under the age of 18, they could lose their driver’s license for a time period ranging from 60 days or extended until their 18th birthday.
In most cases, the underage offender could face a fine of up to $500 and 72 hours in a juvenile detention facility. Therefore, if you or a family member has been charged with underage DUI, the first call you need to make is to an experienced attorney who can begin building a strong defense on your behalf.
Does an Underage DUI Stay on Your Permanent Criminal Record?
West Virginia has programs in place that allow a youthful offender who has been charged with DUI to have their criminal charges dismissed if they fulfill specific legal requirements. It should be noted that the court may only allow criminal charges to be dismissed if the offender had a low BAC at the time of their arrest.
In addition to the fines, as detailed above, the judge may also order the offender to complete one year of probation in lieu of serving jail time. If the youthful offender successfully completes the terms as outlined by the court, they may have their DUI conviction expunged.
How Can Your Law Firm Help Me With an Underage DUI Case?
If you or a family member has been charged with underage DUI, you need to have an experienced attorney on your side. In many instances, an attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to plea bargain the sentence and avoid jail time.
Furthermore, having an attorney can help the offender avoid other potential charges, such as minors in possession or presenting false identification if applicable to your situation. You do not want to risk some of the long-term consequences that often accompany an underage DUI conviction such as not being able to attend the college of your choice, higher insurance rates and a criminal record.