Underage DWI

Holmdel Township Underage DWI Attorneys

The New Jersey Legislature has established a zero tolerance policy regarding the consumption of alcohol by underage drivers.  Consequently, a special statute found under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 was drafted forbidding the operation of a motor vehicle by any person under the legal age to lawfully purchase alcoholic beverages.  Pursuant to the underage DWI law, an individual under the age of 21 can be charged with a violation of the statute if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as low as 0.01%.  An underage summons is quite often written as a backup ticket to a Holmdel Township DWI charge even if the underage driver had a BAC of 0.08% or higher on the alcohol breath test machine.  If your child has been charged with a violation of either or both N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 (Underage DWI) and N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, our lawyers are highly experienced in reaching a favorable resolution.  Our defense team has defended countless drunk driving matters in Holmdel Municipal Court and we even employee Nicholas Moschella, Esq., who has previously served as prosecutor in this court. Mr. Moschella is a member of the defense team at Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver, which is the largest in Monmouth County, includes several other former prosecutors and possesses 3 of less than 10 attorneys in New Jersey who possess dual certification on the Alcotest and as instructors in Field Sobriety Testing by the NHTSA. To speak to an attorney on our staff immediately, call us at 732-450-8300 for a free consultation.

Underage Driving While Intoxicated Law – N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14

Required elements of proof:  The underage DWI statute establishes three elements of proof that must be proven by the prosecution.  First, the State must prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle.  It is irrelevant whether or not the operation took place on public or private property.  Second, the State must prove that the defendant was under the legal age to purchase alcohol at the time of operation.  Finally, the State must prove that the defendant had a BAC of at least 0.01% but less than 0.08%.

Authorized punishment upon conviction:  Interestingly, there is no fine set forth under the statute upon conviction.  Perhaps the legislature took into consideration the young age of offenders and their inherent inability to pay fines.  If convicted, however, a defendant is required to perform between 15 and 30 days of community service.  In New Jersey, a “day” of community service is deemed to be six hours long.  Therefore, the range of community service can be anywhere from 90 hours up to 180 hours.  Upon conviction, there is also a loss of driving privileges that must be imposed by the court between 30 and 90 days.  Furthermore, a defendant will be subject to mandatory participation in the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC).  The IDRC is a screening, evaluation, referral and treatment program administered by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

Explanation of the law:  As set forth in the statute, a BAC reading of 0.01% or higher triggers a violation of N.J.S.A. 394-50.14.  In other words, any detectable level of alcohol below a 0.08% will result in the issuance of a summons.  Consequently, a conviction of underage DWI will result in a minimum of 15 hours of community service, a minimum of 30 day loss of driving privileges and mandatory participation in the IDRC program.  It is important to note, however, that a conviction for a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 does not count as a violation of the DWI statute under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 because it does not involve a BAC reading of 0.08% or higher.  Therefore, a person convicted under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 will not be subject to the mandatory 3 year, $1,000.00 per year, Motor Vehicle Surcharge.  More importantly, a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 does not count as a prior conviction should an individual be subsequently charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (“Driving while intoxicated”).

Underage DUI Lawyer in Holmdel New Jersey

The Holmdel NJ DWI Attorneys at Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver will aggressively defend your underage DWI charge and insure that you have every opportunity to avoid the penalties that apply under the NJ DWI Law. We are quite often successful in this regard in getting companion N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 violations dismissed which pays significant dividends to our clients in the form of thousands of dollars in fine and surcharges and having a first offense for DWI on their record. A lawyer from the firm will be happy to discuss how we can assist you in a free initial consultation by calling 732-450-8300.