In New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or greater as you are considered to be driving while under the influence (DUI). However, there are different standards when it comes to underage individuals who operate a vehicle while they are intoxicated. To purchase, possess, or consume alcohol, the legal drinking age is 21 years old across the United States. Individuals under the age of 21 who operate a vehicle will face serious penalties due to New Jersey’s zero-tolerance policy. Ultimately, zero tolerance means there is no tolerance for underage drinking and driving. Underage drinking is illegal, and the penalties for an underage DUI can negatively impact an individual’s future. In the unfortunate event that your child has been charged with an underage DUI, contact one of our determined and adept Bergen County DUI Attorneys who can help defend your child’s rights. In addition, please continue reading to learn more about New Jersey’s zero-tolerance policy.
Does New Jersey follow a zero-tolerance policy?
As mentioned above, New Jersey has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Essentially, this means if an individual under the age of 21 operates a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system (0.01% or above) they will be charged with a DUI and face significant consequences. Ultimately, it is illegal for underage individuals to get behind the wheel after consuming any amount of alcohol.
What are the penalties for an underage DUI?
The penalties for a DUI conviction are severe as drinking and driving is a serious criminal offense in the state of New Jersey. However, there are different penalties for underage DUIs. Adult DUI convictions (individuals over the age of 21) face harsher penalties. For a first-offense DUI conviction, adults can expect hefty fines, installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), and up to 30 days in jail. The penalties vary in severity depending on an individual’s BAC level and how many previous convictions they’ve had. However, the higher the BAC the more severe the penalties.
For underage individuals, the same standards apply in terms of the higher their BAC the harsher the penalties. However, if an underage individual’s BAC is 0.08% or above, they can be charged with an adult DUI. The same standard applies if the underage individual causes serious bodily harm or causes another person’s death. Nevertheless, the penalties for violating zero-tolerance laws in New Jersey include the following:
- Fines and fees
- License suspension between 30 and 90 days (loss of driving privileges)
- Complete community service for 15 to 30 days
- Participation in an alcohol education program
The penalties for an underage DUI are significant. It is imperative to retain the legal services of one of our experienced and skilled attorneys who can help represent your child’s interests in court.