Q: What are the driver's license laws in Virginia? My child got in trouble for violating rules of her learner's permit because she was driving alone, but she is one month past her 16th birthday and I thought it turned into a permanent driver's license when they turned 16.

A: This is a common area of confusion for many parents because in the past, young drivers were able to get their license on their 16th birthday. There is still the idea floating around out there that some kids gets cars as a present for the "Sweet Sixteen," so that plays a part in the confusion as well.

After completing the proper Virginia driver's education courses, your child is eligible to get their learner's permit when they are 15 years and 6 months old. This does not mean they can drive alone; it means they can drive if someone over 21 years old is sitting up front with them while they drive. There are certain exceptions that will allow an 18-year-old to ride with the driver, but the main idea is still the same - they cannot drive alone.

After the young driver has successfully held their learner's permit for nine months, they are then eligible for their permanent driver's license. The absolute youngest a Virginia driver can be when they get that permanent license is 16 years old and 3 months, assuming they got their learner's permit at 15 years old and 6 months. When it is time for them to get their permanent driver's license, they will receive a notice from court in the mail with information about their court licensing ceremony. A parent or guardian has to be present for this ceremony, so you will be aware when your child is legally licensed in the state of Virginia.

If your child is in legal trouble because they violated the terms of their learner's permit, contact the juvenile traffic attorneys at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC. Your first consultation is free, so call them today at 888-783-9701.