Underage drinking and driving; punishable as Class 1 misdemeanor. (SB770)

Introduced By

Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Punishment for underage drinking and driving; penalty.  Provides that "zero tolerance" (0.02% BAC) underage drinking and driving is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Currently, the punishment is loss of license for six months and a fine of no more than $500. This bill provides that the punishment includes, but is not limited to, forfeiture of such person's license to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year from the date of conviction and either a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or 50 hours of community service. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


12/08/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/11 11100264D
12/08/2010Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/11/2011Assigned Courts sub: Criminal
01/17/2011Reported from Courts of Justice (11-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/18/2011Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/19/2011Read second time and engrossed
01/20/2011Read third time and passed Senate (37-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
01/20/2011Reconsideration of passage agreed to by Senate (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/20/2011Passed Senate (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/24/2011Impact statement from DPB (SB770)
02/07/2011Assigned Courts sub: #1 Criminal
02/07/2011Placed on Calendar
02/07/2011Read first time
02/07/2011Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/21/2011Reported from Courts of Justice (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/23/2011Read second time
02/24/2011Read third time
02/24/2011Passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/24/2011VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2011Reconsideration of House passage agreed to by House
02/24/2011Passed House BLOCK VOTE (99-Y 0-N)
02/24/2011VOTE: PASSAGE #2 (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/03/2011Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB770ER)
03/03/2011Impact statement from DPB (SB770ER)
03/03/2011Signed by Speaker
03/06/2011Signed by President
03/15/2011G Approved by Governor-Chapter 134 (effective 7/1/11)
03/15/2011G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0134)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 40 seconds.

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB1407.


Federalist45 writes:


The State of Virginia here takes another step towards what appears to be its ultimate goal of labeling every person in the State a criminal. First, they criminalize speeding. Then, they criminalize dropping a cigarette butt onto the ground. Then, they prohibit drinking for 18-20 year olds. Then, they impose penalties 18-20 year old for driving with a BAC .02-.07 ("real adults" must be above .08). Now, they want to make sure that the 18-20 year old is labeled a criminal for this heinous crime of drinking half a beer before driving to the supermarket to pick up milk for mom.

What are we doing here, people? Why would we allow this overreach by government to impose criminal sanctions for simple errors. Drive 75 mph on I-95 South in Fairfax County in order to avoid being crushed from behind by speeding vehicles, and if the police happen to target you, you get to become a criminal. Corporal John Smith comes home to visit mom and dad on leave, after two tours in Afghanistan. Dad says, "Let's have a beer son." Son says, "Sure, dad." After their beer, Corporal Smith decides to go visit his girlfriend. On the drive over, the 20 year old war veteran with two Purple Hearts and a bronze star with "V" for valor gets pulled over. Cop does standard lie about no signaling or some other such deceit, and goes through usual harassment. Ends up noting probably cause to administer field sobriety tests and breathalyzer. Corporal Smith has a BAC of .03. CRIMINAL! Military career ruined, convicted a crime, labeled a drunk driver. He was no more drunk than if he had taken Nyquil for a cold.

This constant barrage of criminalization of our lives is demoralizing and ruinous. MADD has done some good things to fight real drunk driving. But MADD and the Virginia legislature have gone way, way too far in going after 19 year olds for having a beer. "There but for the Grace of God go I," is what 99% of them should be saying. Most are hypocrites since most did exactly what they are criminalizing in our children today. Hell, alot of these "lawmakers" have done alot worse. Our PRESIDENT has admitted to cocaine use, for Heaven's sake.

It is time to introduce not another criminal bill attacking young adults, but, rather, to introduce some rationality to our lawmaking. Why are 18-20 year olds second-class citizens? Why do 21 year olds and above "get" to intoxicate themselves to the point of .08 and drive, but not 20 year olds at one hour before their 21st birthday? Can the legislature or MADD cite to independent, objective studies that establish a rational relationship between the 18-20 year old criminalization laws and DUI deaths on the highways? Have they ever studied whether it is safer to drive 75 or 55 mph on I-95 South in Fairfax County?

The answer, of course, is "no." They have done none of that. MADD just comes along and screams and screeches loudly enough that the weakling legislators cave in and pretend to be doing something good.

A police state is not a good thing. By criminalizing our citizens for normal human behavior, our legislature is creating creating a police state. Criminalization of all of us gives the state, then, the excuse to add still more crimes in the name of public safety.

It is time to not only stop this, but to cut it back. Repeal the law that criminalizes 20 mph over the speed limit. Repeal the laws that make 18-20 year olds our "untouchables" class. Repeal the laws that make what many people do on a daily basis, in the normal course of their lives, crimes.