New Jersey Underage Drinking Carries Serious Consequences
It’s a fact of life that most teenagers, even responsible kids from good families, will make a few bad decisions. It’s part of growing up! Despite how well behaved they are, many will use alcohol. A survey showed that over 27% of New Jersey youth between the ages of 12 and 20 admitted to drinking alcohol.
However, a teenager’s alcohol use can lead to being charged for New Jersey underage drinking or a DWI.
Teens are faced with serious and possibly life-altering penalties due to underage drinking charges.
New Jersey youth under the age of 21 who are caught purchasing or drinking alcohol at an establishment with an alcohol beverage license will be fined $500 and have their driver’s license suspended for six months. For teens who do not yet have a driver’s license, the suspension will start when they first become eligible for a license.
However, the consequences of New Jersey underage drinking often extend far beyond criminal penalties. At an age when many are just starting out, a suspended license can make it difficult to secure or retain a job, attend college classes, or participate in extracurricular activities.
Penalties Are Worse for Underage DWI
The consequences can be even worse if a teen’s underage drinking leads to a charge for drinking and driving. New Jersey DWI penalties are specifically strict for young drivers.
New Jersey follows a “zero-tolerance rule” for underage DWI, meaning that teen drivers who have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can be convicted of a criminal offense. Teens who test positive for alcohol, but whose blood alcohol content is below the official drunk driving limit of 0.08, will lose their driving privileges for up to 90 days and will be sentenced to between 15 and 30 days of community service. They will also be required to participate in an alcohol safety education program.
If teens get caught driving with a license that has been suspended for drinking and driving, they will be fined another $500 and may be sent to jail for up to 90 days. Further, their license will be suspended for an additional one to two years. Teens caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or above are subject to the same DWI penalties faced by adults.
Many teens think that underage drinking is no big deal. In many places around the world, it really isn’t. Our youth usually are not taught that they should be respectful of alcohol and learn to develop a healthy relationship with it at the appropriate legal age.
However, the consequences of getting caught for underage drinking or DWI are serious business.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney
If you or your child has been charged with underage drinking or DWI in NJ, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer fighting to protect your rights or protecting your child’d future. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can contest the charges and help you avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation at 609-390-4600 or fill out the form below.