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§ 18.2-266.1 Under Age 21 DUI/DWI; 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 byvolume 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 Under Age DUIarticle shall be in violation of this section.

B. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Punishment shall be (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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Law Expires July 1, 2010.

The Virginia Legislature in 2008 increased the penalties under this code section making it a class 1 misdemeanor. Under the previous law, the penalty included a fine of up to $500 and a six month license suspension period. Under the current law, set to expire on July 1, 2010, the penalty includes that of a class 1 misdemeanor of up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. In addition, the Virginia Legislature has required a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or in lieu of the fine, a mandatory minimum of 50 hours of community service. The Legislature also increased the license suspension period from 6 months to 1 year. While a violation under the previous law has been referred to as a "baby dui," this new and more strict code section makes penalties here nearly as tough as a standard dui. Below is a comparison of the prior code section with the present:

Prior Law:

  • Not classified as a criminal offense
  • No jail provision
  • $500 maximum fine
  • 6 month license suspension

New Law:

  • Criminal offense classification
  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Up to $2,500 fine
  • Mandatory minimum $500 fine OR
  • Minimum 50 hours of community service
  • 12 month license suspension

This provision only applies where the under age 21 individual's BAC is between .02-.07. In addition, a person convicted under this section is eligible to enroll in an Alcohol Safety Action Program and may qualify for a restricted operator's license within the discretion of the court hearing the case. Where an under age 21 individual's BAC is above a .07, the standard DUI/DWI provisions apply.

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