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May, 21 2017
Drinking and Driving Underage: New Jersey DUI Laws for Minors

Drinking and driving come with high penalties for anyone. Grown ups know that they face major fines and penalties should they be caught for driving under the influence. However, adults also know the ins and outs of the law and how the laws impact them. Adults drive all the time, carrying know-how and experience that young drivers do not own. This means grown ups understand how to approach the open road. Still, experienced drivers often find themselves caught for driving under the influence (DUI) as much as anyone else does. Their knowledge of the law makes it bad, but an adult’s worst nightmare remains seeing their child caught for a DUI. Minors not only broke the law for driving under the influence but also for drinking and driving underage.

You may be wondering if additional penalties become part of the equation because of the underage aspect of the situation. Minors face different penalties from grown drivers, due to the illegality of their drinking at all. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the answer to the question.

Drinking and Driving Underage: New Jersey DUI Laws for Minors

Blood Alcohol Content Works Much Differently

Normally when adults find themselves caught for a DUI, the amount of alcohol in their system plays a major role in the penalties leveled against them. While the amount of alcohol found in a minor’s system is not insignificant, it also does not determine whether or not there is a penalty.

Should the minor’s blood alcohol content (BAC) top 0.01%, the lowest amount possible, the minor becomes subject to various penalties by the law. The law works to not only stop minors from drinking and driving, but also from drinking altogether. Remember, the legal limit for drinking is 21. So if you are under 21 and you are caught drinking at all, it’s already considered against the law. Adding driving to it only hurts your case even more.

Considering that truth, the BAC simply needs to show that there is alcohol in your system at all. Once the alcohol exists, you already broke the law stating minors cannot drink alcohol. What comes next are the series of penalties.

What Penalties Do Minors Face?

Minors (those under the age of 21 by the legal drinking age limit) face 30-90 day license suspension, 15-30 days of community service, participation in a variety of mandatory classes, such as alcohol education and highway safety classes, and more. The penalties listed can be combined in specific scenarios as well.

You may now be wondering where the more severe penalties come in, as adults face far worse penalties. In addition to the penalties previously listed, minors still face many of the penalties experienced drivers face. In the state of New Jersey, you not only end up with the penalties of a minor, but you also face those of an adult. So the combination exists rather than getting off easier due to your young age.

The law works this way to truly work the hardest to prevent young drivers from drinking and driving. Additionally, as previously stated, the law works to prevent young people from drinking at all. Considering all of the penalties young drivers face for DUI charges, the goal is to stop people from even considering drinking and driving as a possibility.

Now that you know the different penalties minors face due to being minors, you may wonder about the additional penalties they face that wrap in due to their facing similar penalties to adults. In New Jersey, various possible penalties exist to help ensure people of all ages do not drink and drive. Let’s take a look.

Additional Penalties:

Like adults, minors face a variety of penalties to ensure they do not drink and drive. While we discussed earlier that the Blood Alcohol Content does not determine whether or not there are penalties at all because minors cannot drink at all, they do help determine the severity of the punishment. In New Jersey laws, Blood Alcohol Content goes a long way towards determining how severe the punishments leveled against the person arrested for drinking and driving underage are.

Potential penalties for someone arrested for drinking and driving include fines, fees, and surcharges. Additionally, license suspension of an even greater length of time than that a minor already faces exists as a possibility. One may be given an ignition interlock device to ensure they do not drive drunk ever again. No teenager wishes to have to breathe into a machine before they can start their car in front of their friends. Jail time remains a possibility, even for minors. While the law tends to work to try to avoid putting teenagers in jail, anything is possible. The severity of the drunk driving and the cooperation of the driver work towards determining the severity of the punishment.

Regardless, the driver will need to hire a DUI Lawyer, because the law frowns heavily upon minors arrested for drinking and driving underage.

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