Person Under 21 Driving After Illegally Consuming Alcohol
What is a “baby DUI”?
A baby DUI is not really a DUI at all because the offense does not require intoxication. But since the term “person under 21 driving after illegally consuming alcohol” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, attorneys continue to call this offense baby DUI.
The offense does require the driver to (1) be under 21, (2) drive or operate (3) a motor vehicle, (4) with a BAC at or above a 0.02% but below a 0.08%.
What is the punishment for a baby DUI?
Although it’s called “baby DUI,” a conviction carries adult penalties – some of the harshest in the United States according to the Washington Times. Underage driving after illegally consuming alcohol is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Punishment includes:
(1) up to a year in jail
(2) license forfeiture for a year from conviction (a restricted license may be granted by the judge)
(3) a mandatory minimum fine of $500 (up to $2,500), or a mandatory 50 hours of community service
(3) referral to ASAP
Certainly you can’t disagree with this “zero tolerance policy.”
Of course, I can’t … except I do. In passing this legislation in Virginia, representatives repeatedly referred to things like “kids who choose to drive while under the influence.” I am against kids driving drunk – but this law is overly broad.
First, 18 to 20 year olds are not kids. 18, 19 and 20 year olds were allowed to legally drink until 1984 when MADD helped to pass a narrower version of Prohibition – the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.
Second, a 0.02% is not “under the influence.”
What the law says:
§ 18.2-266.1. Persons under age 21 driving after illegally consuming alcohol; 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 by volume 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 article shall be in violation of this section.
B. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Punishment shall include (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.