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Virginia’s Zero Tolerance Law (Part A)

When driving a motor vehicle in Virginia, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level is below .08. This means that if you are pulled over under the suspicion of a Virginia DUI, and your BAC is measured at .08 or above, then you will be arrested and charged with a Virginia DUI. However, if you are under 21 and driving a motor vehicle, then you cannot have any alcohol in your system whatsoever. This is due to the zero tolerance law, which prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from operating a motor vehicle if they have been drinking.

What Virginia's Zero Tolerance Law Means

The zero tolerance law means that motorists under the age of 21 cannot have any alcohol in their systems. If a motorist is under 21, then even a BAC of .01 is against the law in Virginia. This means that just one drink can result in a Virginia DUI, which can have consequences including: 

  • Court costs and fines
  • A suspension of your driver's license
  • Probation
  • Community service hours
  • An alcohol safety education program 


According to the minimum legal drinking age, it is illegal for minors to purchase or consume alcohol in the first place. Nor can a minor possess an identification that misrepresents their age. If a minor uses a fake identification to purchase alcohol, they may pay a fine, spend time in jail, and incur a permanent criminal record. This could impact college admissions and limit job opportunities.

If you or someone you love is under the age of 21 and charged with a Virginia DUI, then it is important for you to speak with a Virginia DUI defense attorney who can explain your legal options.

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Bob Battle
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