As New Jersey DWI attorneys, I and my staff of experienced drunken driving defense lawyers are well aware of the heavy penalties levied against drivers convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol on public roads. My firm also know that state law enforcement agencies and the judicial system have little tolerance for underage drinking, DWI, and other alcohol-related offenses committed by teens and other minors.
It makes little difference if the offense occurs in Ocean, Sussex, Cape May or Mercer County, when an underage individual is caught by police with an alcoholic beverage, or worse, drunk as a result of consuming beer, wine or liquor, a potential conviction can have a serious impact on that youngster’s life going forward.
According to New Jersey law, any individual who consumes alcohol must 21 years old or more. This not only applies to drinking beer or wine, but also to purchasing or possessing it. To put it simply, underage drinking in the Garden State is strictly illegal. Not only are the police and our courts very strict about underage alcohol possession, as well as teenage drinking and driving, the legal consequences can be rather severe as well.
In fact, putting aside an arrest for underage DWI, just being convicted of drinking alcohol as a minor can hurt a youngster’s future driving privileges when he or she actually becomes eligible to drive a car. Of course, if a minor causes a traffic accident as a result of drinking and driving, this would be one of the worst scenarios for a teen, and one of the most important reasons to contact a qualified DWI defense lawyer.
Not long ago, a teenager from Paramus was charged by police for drunken driving after the vehicle he was operating hit another car head-on along a stretch of Greenwood Lake Turnpike in Ringwood, NJ. The force of that crash sent both he and the other driver to the hospital, along with four others who were traveling in the suspect’s vehicle at the time of the collision back in July.
According to news reports, due to the serious nature of the accident, Passaic County prosecutors brought the charges against the teen, who was also accused of several other traffic violations including reckless driving, failure to stay right, having an open alcoholic container in a motor vehicle, and being in violation of his provisional driver’s license by carrying too many occupants in his vehicle at the time of the crash.
Based on police reports, the accident happened Tuesday evening in July this summer when the teenager’s 2004 VW apparently crossed the centerline of the road, leaving the southbound lane and crashing head-on into a 2007 BMW going north. The driver of the second vehicle, 64-year-old Carolee Flader of West Milford, NJ, became trapped her car following the wreck and had to be rescued by emergency responders before being choppered away from the crash site and to Hackensack University Medical Center.
The other injured persons included the four passengers in the Volkswagen. According to police, the suspect and his passengers were coming home from swimming at Ringwood State Park when the accident took place.
Paramus teen charged with DWI after July’s head-on accident in Ringwood, NorthJersey.com, August 14, 2011