For teenagers across New Jersey and the U.S., the beginning of summer generally means more time and freedom to do what they want. Unfortunately, DWI arrests and traffic deaths for teens seem to spike during this time frame as well. If you or your loved one has been placed under arrest for an underage DWI, you should call a New Jersey DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. These charges are extremely serious and can negatively affect almost every aspect of your life, including your future education, employment, and even housing opportunities.
According to an AAA study, more than 1,000 people are killed in accidents involving a teen driver between Memorial Day and Labor Day – a period known as the 100 Deadliest Days of summer. On average, about 10 deaths a day are reported, which is a 14 percent spike compared to the rest of the year. AAA says that that speeding is the biggest contributor to these deadly accidents, followed by impaired driving. In fact, impaired driving was cited as a factor in about 17 percent of deadly accidents involving a teen driver, which is even more alarming because teenagers are not legally allowed to consume alcohol. AAA data reveal that about one out of six teen drivers involved in a deadly accident over the summer months tested positive for alcohol.
In New Jersey, there is a DWI statute for underage offenders. You can be charged with an underage DWI, commonly known as a “baby DWI,” if you are under the age of 21 and are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 percent or higher. It is important to note that if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, you will be charged with a regular DWI in addition to the underage offense.
If you are convicted, the penalties for an underage DWI can be severe. In instances in which the BAC is between 0.01 and 0.08 percent, the offender will face between 30 and 90 days of a license suspension, community service, and hefty fines. If the BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, the offender will face the same penalties as anyone who is convicted of a regular DWI.
Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to get the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. A number of possible defenses may be at play in your case. For example, certain foods or medical conditions may have led to a false positive breath test result. Since the threshold for underage drunk driving in New Jersey is so low, false positive readings are much more likely with underage drivers taking the breath test.
If you or someone you know has been charged with underage drinking and driving, it is important to reach out to a skilled and experienced DWI defense attorney immediately because this offense carries serious penalties. We understand how high the stakes are in these cases, which is why we will make every effort to protect your rights by building the strongest possible defense in your case. To speak with a member of our team regarding an underage DWI, call us at 877-450-8301 or contact us online.