Drinking and Driving in New Jersey: Consequences of Underage DWI

New Jersey law regarding underage drinking and driving is quite specific. Because you must 21 years or older to buy, possess or drink any alcoholic beverage, underage drinking is by definition illegal. And the consequences for underage drinking are severe under New Jersey law, especially as it pertains to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. But whether or not you are stopped for DWI, an underage drinking offense could affect your driving privileges now or in the future.

For example, if a person under 21 years old is arrested for purchasing or consuming an alcoholic drink in an establishment licensed to sell alcohol, he or she could be fined $500, as well as lose their driver’s license for up to six months. Parents take note, even if your child does not yet have a driver’s license, that potential suspension will start when the youngster is first eligible to receive his or her license. Furthermore, a young person who violates underage drinking laws may also be required by the court to attend an alcohol treatment or education program.

Anyone under 21 caught with even the slightest amount of alcohol in their system — that is, a blood-alcohol content of 0.01 or more — will be subject to the following penalties under New Jersey law:

  • Loss or postponement of driving privileges for 30 to 90 days
  • 15 to 30 days of community service
  • Successful completion of the program requirements of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center or an alcohol education and highway safety program

We at The Law Offices of John F. Marshalll have a great deal of experience in defending persons charged with underage DWI offenses. I personally have been defending clients in New Jersey Municipal Courts for 15 years. And having served as a prosecutor earlier in my career, working in several Monmouth County municipalities, I know first-hand how the prosecution approaches such cases.

Conviction for a drinking and driving offense can have a serious impact on a young person just embarking on adulthood. If you or your child have been charged with underage DWI, DUI or Refusal, our attorneys can assist you 24/7.