It is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle while they are intoxicated in the state of New Jersey. This includes those who are not yet the legal drinking age of 21. When a driver is convicted of an underage DWI in New Jersey, they can face serious consequences that have the potential to impact them for the rest of their life. It is because of this that those who are charged with an underage DWI should retain the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney for assistance.
New Jersey Zero Tolerance Law
In the state of New Jersey, there is a zero tolerance law when dealing with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This holds those under the age of 21 responsible for their actions if they are pulled over on the road for drinking and driving. If an underage driver is found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.01% and 0.08%, they can receive an underage DWI charge. These cases are heard in the municipal court. However, it is important to know that if the driver’s BAC was over 0.08%, the driver can be charged with a regular DWI and subject to regular DWI penalties.
Penalties of an Underage DWI
The consequences that an underage DWI offender faces can vary depending on the nature of the offense. Typically, the individual will be subject to the following:
- License suspension: The state can suspend the driver’s license of an underage DWI offender for 30 to 90 days. In addition to this, a teenager with a probationary license is required to complete a four hour remedial driving course without eligibility to receive a basic driver’s license for one year. If the driver has their learner’s permit, they must complete the four hour class and will be suspended for an additional 90 days. Subsequent DWI offenses can lead to further license suspensions or revocations.
- Community service: After receiving an underage DWI charge, the offender can be ordered by the court to complete 15 to 30 days of community service.
- Treatment: All underage DWI offenders must complete the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program or a similar approved rehabilitation program. The IDRC conducts an evaluation and interview before referring the driver to an appropriate treatment level. This level is based on the driver’s evaluation as well as their driving record and BAC at the time of their violation.
Contact our Firm
If you or someone you know was charged with an underage DWI and wishes to speak with an experienced attorney, contact REM Katcher Law Group P.C. today.