New Jersey Youths Charged with Underage Drinking Face Potential Problems Down the Road as Adults

As a New Jersey DWI defense attorney, I and my staff of experienced legal professionals have represented numerous minors charged with underage drinking and DWI. With offices in Ocean County, Bergen County, Passaic and Middlesex Counties, we possess extensive knowledge of state and local drunk driving and DUI laws and prosecutorial strategies.

As experienced DWI lawyers, we also understand that a conviction for underage drinking or driving while intoxicated can seriously impact a young person’s future. Although youngsters may not believe that a seemingly minor event could in anyway have a bearing on their future life or business career, there always exists the potential for unintended consequences down the road.

For a young adult just setting out on his journey toward adulthood, being arrested for underage drinking can have a considerable impact on his life. And the facts speak for themselves.

New Jersey law states that if any person under 21 years old is proven to have bought or consumed alcohol in an establishment licensed to sell alcohol, that youngster could be fined up to $500. In addition, depending on the circumstances, the court can also order the suspension of a defendant’s driver’s license for up to six months.

For those young people who do not yet have a driver’s license, the law also affects them, but in the future. Parents of kids who do not yet have a driver’s license should take note here; if your child is convicted of underage drinking, a future license suspension will begin as soon as that young person is eligible to receive his or her driver’s license. And just as adults may be ordered to attend an alcohol treatment or education program, any young person who violates the state’s underage drinking laws may also be so ordered by the court.

The state’s laws pertaining to underage drinking and driving are quite specific. Because an individual must be 21 years or older to purchase, possess or consume alcohol, underage drinking is by definition against the law. And it goes without saying that underage drinking and driving is illegal as well. The consequences for underage drinking are very harsh in the Garden State, especially in cases of DWI.

But whether or not a youngster charged with DWI, an underage drinking offense could indeed affect that child’s current or future driving privileges. Anybody under 21 years old who is found to have even the slightest amount of alcohol in their system — defined as having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 or more — will be subject to a number of penalties under the law, including:

  • Loss or postponement of driving privileges (30 to 90 days)
  • Community service (15 to 30 days)
  • Attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, or an alcohol education and highway safety program