14 Oct What is underage possession of alcohol?
Virginia law prohibits anyone under the age of twenty-one from consuming, purchasing or possessing an alcoholic beverage, or attempting to do the same, except under very limited circumstances. Law enforcement officers do not need to catch you with a beer in your hand to prove you violated this law-the Commonwealth can prove a violation in a variety of ways depending on the evidence. If you are between the ages of eighteen and twenty and the Commonwealth proves that you violated this law, then the Court at a minimum must sentence you to pay a $500.00 fine or perform fifty (50) hours of community service and must suspend your driver’s license for six to twelve months. However, if you have not previously been convicted of a violation of the underage alcohol statute, the Court may defer the case and order you to complete certain requirements such as probation and an education or treatment class. If you successfully complete the requirements, the Court is likely to dismiss the charge against you. A positive aspect regarding this deferred disposition is that the Court has the option of whether to suspend your driver’s license or not. One question that people frequently ask is whether they can have the charge expunged from their record if the case is dismissed. The answer to that question is “no.” Your criminal record will show that you were charged with underage alcohol possession and that the charge was dismissed. However, this record cannot be expunged because the charge was dismissed due to your completion of certain terms and not because you were “not guilty” of the charge. If you have been charged with underage possession of alcohol, it is important to speak to an attorney to determine what defenses you may have and what consequences you may suffer if convicted.
The preceding material is for information purposes only. The material is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice on the particular details of your case. Case results depend upon a variety of factors that are unique to each case. Past case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.