For many parents in New Jersey, the thought of their young family member being involved in a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) case is a nightmare. The Garden State has stringent laws, and understanding them, especially in the context of underage DUI, is crucial. As responsible parents, one must be aware of these regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of young drivers in the household.
Can An Underage Driver Face Adult DUI Charges?
The straightforward answer is yes. New Jersey takes a firm stance against underage drinking and driving. If a driver under the age of 21 is arrested for DUI and tests reveal a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, they won’t be treated leniently just because of their age. Instead, they will be charged with DUI as an adult.
This might come as a surprise to many, given that the legal age for consuming alcohol in the United States is 21. One might expect underage offenders to be treated differently, perhaps in a juvenile court. However, this isn’t the case for DUI offenses in New Jersey.
What Does Being Charged For Drunk Driving as an Adult Entail?
Facing DUI charges as an adult, irrespective of the actual age of the offender, is no minor affair. Firstly, the young defendant will be standing before the same judge as any other adult offender. The atmosphere and gravity of the courtroom won’t be any different for them.
Secondly, the penalties meted out, upon conviction, are identical to those that adults face. This includes:
- Higher Fines: The financial burden can be significant, with fines often running into thousands of dollars.
- Lengthier License Suspension: For young drivers, this can be particularly detrimental, potentially delaying their opportunity to legally drive for several years.
- Possible Jail Time: Though often a last resort, the court does hold the right to sentence underage DUI offenders to jail, making it a real and daunting possibility.
Furthermore, the record of this conviction can cast a long shadow, affecting future opportunities related to education, employment, and more.
The Challenge of Underage Drinking Evidence
The act of underage drinking in itself is against the law in New Jersey. So, if an underage individual tests positive in an Alcotest or blood test for alcohol, it inherently signifies lawbreaking. This evidence stands strongly against the defendant, making the defense’s task challenging.
The Role of a Skilled New Jersey DWI Attorney
Given the seriousness of the charges and their implications, having a competent attorney is paramount. A seasoned New Jersey DUI attorney understands the intricacies of the state’s DUI laws and has the expertise to navigate the complex legal waters. They can examine the evidence, ensure that the defendant’s rights were not violated during the arrest, and craft the most effective defense strategy.
As parents in New Jersey, it’s essential to educate young drivers about the severe consequences of DUI. Prevention is always better than cure. However, if faced with such an unfortunate circumstance, having the right legal counsel can make a significant difference.
Call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9660 for a free consultation with an attorney who has helped more than 1,402 New Jersey drivers avoid being convicted on DWI charges.
Reisig Criminal Defense & DWI Law, LLC
1 Broad St
Freehold, NJ 07728
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