Considering the number of teenagers and young adult drivers currently on Garden State roadways, DWI and drug DUI arrests involving underage drivers are bound to happen more often than not. As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, my legal team understands how easily a young person can end up intoxicated and then get behind the wheel without taking into account the various consequences that may result. Safety aside, for those drivers under legal drinking age, being stopped by the police for intoxicated driving can have unintended outcomes.
The penalties for underage DWI here in New Jersey are outlined in our state’s legal statutes, specifically N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14. The law specifies that any person under 21 years of age who operates a car, truck or motorcycle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than 0.01 percent but less than 0.08 percent risks forfeiture of his driving privileges for one to three months. Even those individuals who do not yet have a driver’s license may face a delay in obtaining their driver’s license following a previous conviction for underage DWI.
As with most drunken driving cases, the burden of proof is on the state. Where a charge of drunken driving is at issue, the local prosecutor must show that 1) the defendant was “operating” the vehicle at the time of the offense; 2) the defendant was under the state’s legal drinking age at that time; and 3) the defendant had a BAC over 0.01 percent. Evidence of the latter is typically gained via a breathalyzer test, often obtained by using an Alcotest breath testing device or occasionally through a direct blood sample taken from the defendant at the time of the drunk driving arrest.