In Virginia, the legal age for someone to possess or consume alcohol is 21 years old – what are the implications of this law? 

If someone is under 18 years old when they are charged with underage possession or consumption, they will be tried in juvenile court as a minor. The minor, if between 16 and 18 years old and in possession of a driver’s license, will have a six-month suspension or delay imposed. Some situations qualify minors for a restricted driver’s license, so always consult with an experienced attorney for case specific advice.

If someone is over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 when they are charged with underage possession or consumption, they will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail, driver’s license suspension of 6-12 months, a fine of $500, and/or 50 hours of community service.

Other factors can play into the penalty and outcome of an underage possession or consumption charge. Restrictions from scholarships or sports could be a result of a conviction. Other charges can affect the outcome such as public intoxication, which holds a penalty of a $250 fine, or possession of a manufactured or altered driver’s license, which could result in a penalty of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.

Always consult with an experienced attorney for case specific advice. At the Steidle Law Firm our goal is simple: make the system work for you. At such an influential age, an underage possession or consumption charge can have long term effects. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.