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, 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 Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyer so that you can present the best case to the court and achieve the best outcome possible.
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