When New Jersey says ‘Zero Tolerance’, New Jersey means zero tolerance. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New Jersey is a significant criminal offense, whether the driver is of age or underage. New Jersey underage drinking laws carry a thirty to ninety day license suspension in addition to fifteen to thirty days of community service. For an underage DUI charge, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level needs only to be 0.01% based on the Alcotest machine (New Jersey’s breathalyzer). In fact, if the blood alcohol concentration level exceeds 0.08% in an underage drinking charge, the driver will then be charged as an adult and subjected to the regular New Jersey DWI Penalties. Underage DUI charges will be heard in the municipal court in which the arrest took place, again noting that the driver’s BAC level must be under 0.08% for this to hold true. Following conviction of an underage DUI charge, the defendant will suffer ramifications as mentioned above, as well as be required to attend an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program or participate in another approved alcohol education program.
And since you are required to be 21 years of age or older to buy or consume alcohol in New Jersey, underage drinking, in general, regardless of DUI or no DUI, is not taken lightly. If a child is found guilty of underage drinking, they will face up to $500 in fines and driver’s license suspension for up to six months – whether they actually operate a car or not during their underage intoxication. To drive the point home, New Jersey looks to see if the minor has a current driver’s license and if not, the suspension will be applied once the child has received their driver’s license.
Because driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a significant charge which can permanently stain a young person’s record and handicap their future, seeking the advice of legal counsel from a qualified DUI attorney is in the best interest of the child. With years of minimizing penalties and keeping juvenile records clean, New Jersey DUI attorneys can build a defense and navigate the legal system to battle on behalf of the minor in question. To learn more about how we may be able to help you or your child defend an underage DWI charge, contact our office today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.