Underage DWI

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Being charged with a DWI in New Jersey is a serious offence and is treated as such by the courts. This can mean impounding your vehicle, severe fines, loss of your license, and a permanent mark on your record. If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a DWI, there is assistance available. Consulting with a NJ DWI Lawyer can identify options that can help you with your charge. Use this page to learn more about DWI definintions, laws, penalties, and your options.

When you are going up against the State of New Jersey you need experienced legal counsel. Regardless of whether you are facing an indictable criminal charge in the Superior Court, a drug charge in Municipal Court, a DWI, or even a simple motor vehicle charge you want to have the best possible result. Thomas H. Martin has been helping people face the most difficult of situations for years. Contact Thomas H. Martin at (732) 431-2224 to arrainge a free consultation.


Underage DWI

New Jersey has a law especially designed to address operation of a motor vehicle by individuals who have consumed alcohol while under the legal age to do so.  The legal age to consume alcohol in New Jersey is 21.  New Jersey statute 39:4-50.1 outlaws the operation of a vehicle by anyone under the legal age to purchase alcohol when that person has consumed any alcohol.

In underage DWI cases, the State has to prove three things: 1) that the defendant operated a motor vehicle; 2) that the defendant was under the legal age to purchase alcohol; and 3) that the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration was above 0.01% but below 0.08%.  If the underage defendant’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher, he or she will be charged with an adult DWI, regardless of age.


Defendants convicted of underage DWI face significant penalties.  First, defendants face a loss of driving privileges for a period between 30 and 90 days.  Second, convicted defendants must serve a minimum of 15 days community service.  The maximum term of community service is 30 days.  Finally, those found guilty face 12 to 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).  The IDRC is a program administered by the Department of Health and Senior Services that conducts screening, evaluation, referral and treatment of convicted drunken drivers.

If you are under 21 and drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system (.01 BAC or above), you will be subjected to the following penalties:

  • Loss or postponement of driving privileges for 30 to 90 days
  • 15 to 30 days of community service
  • Participation in a program of alcohol education and highway safety 12 to 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
  • You can also be prosecuted for DWI, even if your blood or breath alcohol level is less than 0.08%


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