There are several types of drinking and driving related offenses in New Jersey. most are charged with Driving While Intoxicated, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Under that section of the statute, the allegation will be that you either operated your vehicle with a B.A.C. of .08 or above or that the observations of the officer establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated when driving. See the link above if you have been charged under this section.
However, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 is the New Jersey underage DWI statute. It is against the law for a person under 21 yrs of age to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their blood. This offense is sometimes called “baby DWI” but there is nothing “baby” about it. If convicted of driving while intoxicated underage, the court will suspend your driving privileges for up to 90 days. You will have to perform community service (up to 30 days), and participate in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program for a minimum of 12 hrs.
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or greater, you will also be charged with DWI in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, which exposes the defendant to the traditional penalties and suspensions for an adult offender. These penalties can be imposed in addition to those in connection with the Underage DWI charge. This means that for a first offense, the accused could face a license suspension of up to 15 months and 30 days in jail. In most cases, the defendant will be arrested and charged with both offenses.
If you or a loved one has been charged with Underage DWI, your first call should be to a NJ DWI lawyer who has experience defending those charged with underage DWI and DWI offenses. As DWI arrest become more prevalent, DWI defense becomes more complicated. The state is trying to cinch the loopholes to obtain as many convictions as possible. DWI arrest generate tremendous amount of revenue for the state and its municipalities. But I have continued to study and train in this area of the law, and it has paid dividends for my clients. Please refer to my attorney profile for my certifications and experience. The following is the NJ Underage DWI statute:
39:4-50.14. Penalties for underage person operating motor vehicle after consuming alcohol
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.
The penalties provided under the provisions of this section shall be in addition to the penalties which the court may impose under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15, R.S. 33:1-81, R.S. 39:4-50 or any other law.
If you or a loved one is facing an underage DWI charge, regular DWI offense, or both, I am available 24 hours for a free consultation.