Our 18 year old children can be sent to fight & die in Afghanistan.
Our 18 year old children can marry & sign contracts.
But these “children” who can die for their country, and marry for a lifetime, cannot legally drink a beer in Virginia. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act became law July 17, 1984.
In fact, Virginia punishes underage consumption of alcohol similar to a DWI. If you are 20 years and 11 months old, holding a can of beer can cost you up to 1 year in jail and a $2500 fine! The minimum mandatory fine is twice that of a DWI ($500 versus $250 for a DWI). Your license will be suspended for 6 months to 1 year – even if you were nowhere close to a car! (For more information check out the penalties for underage possession click here.)
There is no way to expunge a conviction in Virginia. Once a misdemeanor is on your record, it will always be on your record. Whenever you apply for a job or school, you will have to check the box that you have a criminal record.
Who do we have to thank for such a bad law? Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). Candy Lightner, the founder of MADD, left MADD the next year according to the Washington Times:
Candy Lightner, MADD’s founder, says she disassociated herself from the movement in 1985 because she believed the organization was headed in the wrong direction. “It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned,” said Mrs. Lightner, who founded MADD after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. “I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”
Our passion at Tillotson & Martin, L.L.C., is defending citizens against unfair DUI & drug laws. We write the book for DWI defense for Virginia attorneys and provide seminars for attorneys on how to beat the breath test machine. We train extensively to develop and improve cutting edge defenses. Our attorneys are active National College for DUI Defense members, are certified in NHTSA Field Sobriety Testing, and are trained to interpret breath test and blood test data.