Representing motorists charged with DWI, my staff of drunk driving defense lawyers cover much of the New Jersey area including Middlesex County. Recently, I noticed a news article that stated East Brunswick police would be working undercover in local liquor stores as part of a federally-funded effort to catch underage drinkers.
If any of those youngsters gets in a car and drives under the influence of alcohol, the police can also charge them with underage DWI. When is comes to underage drunk driving, New Jersey has a zero-tolerance policy. While the legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC) in an adult driver is 0.08 percent, New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 makes it illegal for an individual under 21 years of age to have any alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle.
Although it is illegal for anyone under 21 to have any trace of alcohol in their system, the monetary penalties and suspension period for underage driving while intoxicated are less severe than for adults facing similar charges. An underage drinking and driving conviction in New Jersey can involve as little as 30 days license suspension, however the minimum suspension for an adult DWI is 90 days.
More importantly, if a young person is convicted of underage DWI, DUI or breath test refusal, the impact can be even more significant for a child versus an adult. An underage drinking and driving charge is serious and should not be dismissed. If a child of yours has been arrested for underage DWI, contact a qualified legal professional to handle their case.
In regard to the latest sting operations in and around East Brunswick, the program has been dubbed “Cops in Shops,” and will continue throughout 2010 with officers posing as customers or employees at local liquor stores throughout the township.
Reportedly, all four of the township’s package liquor stores have agreed to participate in the program and will post fliers warning buyers that undercover officers may be nearby. East Brunswick has received $6,000 in federal funds to pay for the assignments, which are also meant to catch adults who buy alcohol for youngsters.
According to news reports, East Brunswick police made 57 arrests for underage drinking in 2008. That included arrests for drunk driving as well as underage drinking at house parties. The number of arrests for underage drinking in 2007 totaled 76, while there were only 60 in 2006.
East Brunswick cops go undercover to catch underage drinkers, DailyRecord.com, August 29, 2009