What Are the Consequences of an Underage Drinking DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI), also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey, is defined as operating any means of transport while under alcohol or a controlled substance. All 50 US states have constitutional laws that make driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent an offense. But what happens when the person operating the vehicle is less than 21 years old?
In this article, we review the consequences of underage drinking DUI in New Jersey.
An underage DUI refers to a case where the driver charged with intoxicated driving is under 21 years old. According to the NHTSA, over 20 percent of teen drivers test positive for alcohol and substance abuse after getting involved in car accidents. This number is alarming considering that people under 21 in the US cannot access, handle, or consume alcohol.
In New Jersey, the police often identify intoxicated drivers when an accident has occurred or during traffic stops when they pull over. If the police officer suspects the driver of being drunk, they may perform a breath test, arrest the driver, and tow the car if the results are positive.
Zero Tolerance Laws on Underage DUIs
Zero tolerance laws on underage DUIs are applicable in most states, and they often pose heavy penalties on those charged and found guilty, however small the amount of alcohol is in the driver’s system. While these punishments vary from state to state, the most common ones are:
- Motor vehicle confinement
- License suspension for 30 days to more than one year
- Possible jail time of one day to several years for repeat offenders
- Community work
- A fine of not less than a few hundred to several thousand dollars
- Enrollment in a driving under influence school
- 3- to 5-year probation
- Juvenile detention
These penalties can be more severe if the underage driver is found driving on a suspended driving license, records a higher BAC than the 0.08 percentage, causes an accident that results in severe injury or death.
Long-Term Consequences of an Underage DUI
Besides the legal penalties of an underage DUI conviction, such a record may affect other areas of the convicted driver’s life, such as:
- School enrolment – The driver may have trouble qualifying for a college scholarship or enrolling in some colleges. Depending on the school rules, the student may also be expelled from school or punished.
- Career – The driver’s career options may suffer due to the prolonged license suspension periods. Additionally, employers in some fields, such as those involving children or operating vehicles, may refuse to hire someone with a DUI conviction.
Talk to a Hudson County Personal Injury Attorney
The consequences of underage drinking DUI in New Jersey may seem harsh, but it is with good reason. Statistics show that 27 people lose their lives in the United States every day due to drunk driving accidents. Consequently, drivers found guilty of DUI offenses, including underage drivers, usually face severe legal fines and penalties.
If you have been involved or injured in a car accident involving underage drunk driving or want to discuss your legal options with a Hudson County Personal Injury Attorney, the team is ready to help you with your case.