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In New Jersey, you are facing a serious charge if you are under 21 and are driving or are a passenger caught possessing or drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. The state takes these acts very seriously because of the damage young drivers can do after consuming alcohol and choosing to get behind the wheel.
If your child has been charged with an underage DWI in New Jersey, contact Team Law today so we can discuss how to proceed with your defense.
Facing an Underage DUI Charge And Have Questions? We Can Help, Tell Us What Happened.
Special rules in New Jersey for underage DWI
In New Jersey, anyone (including drivers under age 21) can be convicted of DWI if they are driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more.
What is critically important to note here, is that drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with an underage DWI if their blood alcohol concentration is greater than .01% and less than .08%.
Penalties for Underage DWI in New Jersey
New Jersey State Law 39:4-50.14 sets forth penalties for underage DWI in New Jersey:
Penalties for underage person operating motor vehicle after consuming alcohol.
1.Any person under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01% or more, but less than 0.08%, by weight of alcohol in his blood, shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State or shall be prohibited from obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle in this State for a period of not less than 30 or more than 90 days beginning on the date he becomes eligible to obtain a license or on the day of conviction, whichever is later, and shall perform community service for a period of not less than 15 or more than 30 days.
In addition, the person shall satisfy the program and fee requirements of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center or participate in a program of alcohol education and highway safety as prescribed by the chief administrator.
Other Possible Penalties
In New Jersey, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, consume or possess an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle, school, place of public assembly, public place or public conveyance.
If caught, the individual can be charged with a disorderly person’s offense, which is the equivalent of a misdemeanor in other states.
If the person is under 18, they will not be charged as an adult but will have to deal with juvenile delinquency proceedings. If the person is over 18 but under 21 they will be charged as an adult.
So it is possible that an individual charged with DWI in New Jersey may also face charges relating to the purchase, consumption, and possession of the alcohol in issue, in addition to any specific charges for underage DWI.
One of the first possible defenses an experienced attorney will examine in an underage DWI case is probable case. Did the police have probable cause to pull you over? You should have only been stopped if you were in some way in violation of the laws of New Jersey. If you were not, that may present a viable defense.
Assuming that there was probable cause to stop you, the police officer must prove that there was reason to suspect that you had been drinking when you were stopped. These reasons could be smelling alcohol, seeing alcohol containers in the vehicle, and so on. If there was no probable cause, this may also present a viable defense for the experienced attorneys at Team Law.
Another possible avenue to finding a viable defense for underage DWI is procedural. An experienced legal team will look at whether you were given your Miranda rights to whether all other required procedures were followed by the arresting officer
If you have been accused of an underage DWI in New Jersey you need to act quickly to allow yourself as much time as possible to build a viable defense to the charges. Contact Team Law today and we will answer any questions you have.
No. If you are under 21, any reading above .01% legally constitutes underage DWI.
Because it’s the law in New Jersey. If you are over 18 but under 21 and were caught with alcohol in a motor vehicle, your New Jersey driver’s license will be suspended for six months. This is the case even if you were not the one driving.
In New Jersey, there is a range of penalties for underage DWI. They include license suspension monetary fines, potential jail time, and mandatory attendance at an alcohol educational program. It is also possible that insurance rates will dramatically increase following an underage DWI conviction.
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