The legal drinking age in New Jersey is 21. That being said, there are many instances in which the state and local police arrest an underage driver and charge him or her with a DWI.
Commonly referred to as the Baby DWI statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 lessens the BAC level for underage offenders from the standard .08 percent to .01 percent. That’s right for many individuals, a .01 percent BAC level is as little as one cocktail! The Baby DWI/DUI statute also imposes a tiered system for punishing an offender based on BAC level and other factors. The higher the BAC, the more serious the punishment. Proven in the same way that for a person of 21 and over if DWI is proven, breath and blood tests help the prosecution to determine the appropriate level of punishment. However, keep in mind that an underage DWI conviction does not count as a prior New Jersey DWI conviction. Here are some of the penalties and punishments attached to a Baby DWI:
- .01to .08 BAC: The bottom line is this: any alcohol found in your system when you are under the age of 21 can get you in trouble, even if you are well below the legal limit. Those found guilty of having a BAC between .01 and .08 and operating a vehicle will lose their driving privileges for up to 90 days, participate in an alcohol and driver safety program, perform community service and pay $500 in fines.
- BAC levels above .08: This is not an underage or Baby DWI. When an underage driver has a BAC level above the legal limit for someone over the age of 21, there are some serious penalties attached to the offense. For BAC levels above .15 percent the driver will also have to install an ignition interlock device once his or her driving privileges are reinstated.
Drinking and driving in New Jersey is always a bad idea. When it involves an underage driver, there are penalties beyond the obvious that you will need to deal with. An underage DWI is not a DWI. For instance, many college, employment and housing applications ask about convictions. However, just because you have been charged with a Baby DWI does not mean that you will be convicted of it. The prosecution in your case bears the burden of proving the charges against you, and there are many viable defenses available to you that can help defeat or eliminate the charges against you. Time is of the essence in these cases, the sooner you get in touch with an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney, the better. Give the Law Offices of Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, LLC, a call today and begin fighting the charges against you!
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Getting charged with an underage DWI/DUI is a frightening experience. With over 25 years of experience dealing with all kinds of alcohol-related offenses, I have the experience you want fighting the very serious charge against you. I am available seven days a week, and your initial consultation is always free. I am here to answer any questions you have about the charges against you and fight to get you the best results possible. I look forward to speaking with you!