Middletown NJ Underage DWI Attorney
The State of New Jersey has zero tolerance for those who are below the legal drinking age and consume alcohol before operating a motor vehicle. In fact, any level of alcohol constitutes an underage DWI violation. While the threshold to prove this offense is low, the license suspension is more limited than a normal DWI, the conviction does not constitute a prior driving while intoxicated violation under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 and there are no fines upon conviction. An experienced lawyer can insure that the consequences of a violation are minimized and, more importantly, that any conviction is to an underage DWI as opposed to a much more serious violation under the adult driving while intoxicated statute. Our former DUI prosecutors handle underage driving while intoxicated cases in Monmouth County municipalities like Tinton Falls, Wall, Howell, Middletown and Holmdel. An attorney is available 24/7 to discuss your case free of charge and we invite you to review the information that follows.
New Jersey Underage DWI Law. The law that governs driving while intoxicated by a minor is contained at N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 and provides:
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.
Elements of the Offense. To convict an underage driver under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14, the prosecutor must prove that the accused was: (1) the operator of a motor vehicle; (2) under twenty one years of age at the time (i.e. under legal drinking age): and (3) possessed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.01% at the time.
Zero Tolerance Violation. You will note that N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 sets forth a violation where a minor has any (e.g. .01% if enough) alcohol in his or her system while operating a motor vehicle. While this is typically established through a breath test or blood test, it is also possible for a violaton to be established through observations or admission (e.g. accused admitted to drinking).
Fines, Drivers License Suspension & Other Penalties. The law sets forth numerous penalties that apply if an individual consumes alcohol while under the legal drinking age and operates a motor vehicle
- Fines Upon Conviction. There is no fine that is imposed under this law.
- Community Service. An individual must provide a period of community service if convicted of underage dwi. The term of the community service is between 30 and 90 days.
- License Suspension. A minor who drinks and drives is exposed to a mandatory license suspension of at least thirty (30) days but not more than ninety (90) days.
Companion Charges of Adult DWI. A defendant is often charged with both a regular driving while intoxicated offense under 39:4-50 and the underage violation when they are accused of drinking and driving and are under 21 years of age. The reason for this lies in the fact that any level of alcohol constitutes underage dwi such that this charge is always a backup in the event that the prosecution cannot prove a normal dwi, which requires proof of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08%.
Holmdel Underage DUI Lawyers
Holmdel is historically one of the busiest towns in the county when it comes to DWI and DUI offenses. Underage violations come within this pool so this township is prone to have more kiddy charges than most. For anyone faced with the impact of an arrest for underage drinking and driving, we can offer a unique option based on our exceptional training and experience. We are former prosecutors in many local towns, including Holmdel, and have an elite level of training with multiple attorneys who are dual certified in field sobriety testing and on the Alcotest breathalyzer. An attorney with the skills and familiarity with the court system that you need is just a telephone call away. Call us now to speak to one of our lawyers or to set up an appointment in our Middletown Office, Tinton Falls Office, Wall Office, Red Bank Office or Freehold Office.