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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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New Jersey teen found in parked car charged with DWI

As Cape May parents may know, teenagers sometimes make poor choices in the pursuit of what they perceive to be adult experiences. Unfortunately, that pursuit all too often involves making bad choices when it comes to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. For a 17-year-old Readington boy, a recent attempt to covertly imbibe adult beverages led to his arrest for underage drunk driving.

According to reports, the sighting of a Ford Taurus parked with its lights off along a public roadway aroused the suspicions of local police officers. Upon investigation, police officers found the young driver and two passengers in possession of alcohol and marijuana. All three were turned over to their parents and will probably face charges related to marijuana possession. The driver, however, faces an additional underage DWI charge.

If convicted, the young driver will have to deal with a 30 to 90 day license suspension, 15 to 30 days of obligatory community service and mandatory attendance and participation in alcohol education and highway safety programs at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. The sentencing court will also have discretion to impose any combination of the penalties normally applied to an adult drunk driver, including fines, fees and possible surcharges that can easily exceed $1,000.

Even though underage drunk drivers typically will not be penalized to the same extent as adult drunk drivers, a DWI conviction can have long lasting consequences that may affect a child’s future opportunities, such as the ability to attend a college of choice. Parents of children facing underage DWI charges should be aware that conviction does not automatically follow the issuance of a charge. An experienced DWI attorney can help identify potential defenses and provide sound recommendations about the best way to handle an underage drunk driving offense.

Source: New Jersey Online, “Readington police say boys in car were drinking, had marijuana,” Nov. 6, 2012

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