What Are the Consequences of An Underage Possession of Alcohol Charge in Virginia?

by J.D. Garrett on May 16, 2012

Statistics indicate that over 5000 teenagers die each year as a result of alcohol. The statistics include various types of cases such as car accidents, suicides, and even homicides.

In Virginia, it is a criminal offense for anyone under the age of twenty-one to possess alcohol in any manner. Possession can be established if someone is holding a can of beer, opened or unopened; has a bottle of vodka in their backpack or purse, even if the bag is not in their immediate possession; or has recently drank a glass of wine and has alcohol in their system.

The consequences for a criminal charge of underage possession of alcohol vary from case to case. Some cases involve minor alcohol use, or curious experimentation; other cases involve frequent users and even those addicted to alcohol. In more severe cases and those charged with multiple or subsequent offenses, the court may convict the defendant of a Class 1 misdemeanor and punishment may then include jail time, or confinement in a juvenile detention center (for juvenile offense), as well as a fine and driver’s license suspension.

Under Virginia law, a judge does have the authority to dismiss an underage alcohol possession charge provided it’s a first offense, and the defendant presents a persuasive case to the court as to why they should receive such treatment. Many times a dismissal will be ordered only after completion of community service or payment of a fine and court costs. In some cases, the court may also suspend a defendant’s driver’s license, even if there was no association of vehicle operation with the charge.

It is important that you discuss your underage possession of alcohol charge with a criminal defense lawyer so that you can present the best case to the court and achieve the best outcome possible. If your son or daughter has been charged with underage possession of alcohol in Virginia Beach, call us today (757) 422-4646. We’ll discuss your options free of charge.

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