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What if I am Charged with an Underage DWI in New Jersey?

Children make mistakes- this is part of growing and learning. Unfortunately, some mistakes can last a lifetime. When an individual under the age of 21 consumes alcohol and operates a car, he or she can face serious consequences that may have a severe impact on the future. Read on to learn more about underage DWI charges in New Jersey.

What is New Jersey’s Zero Tolerance Law?

New Jersey takes drinking and driving very seriously. In fact, the state has implemented a zero-tolerance law to hold those who drink and drive accountable. If an underage driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of even 0.01% while operating a vehicle, they can receive an underage DWI charge. Usually, these cases are heard in municipal court, but it is important to note that underage drivers who have a BAC over 0.08% can be charged as an adult and face the same DWI penalties as that of an of age driver. 

What are the Penalties For an Underage DWI?

When an underage driver receives a DWI, he or she may face serious penalties. These penalties are in place to deter the individual from engaging in the same behavior again, and to help get him back on the right track. These penalties may include: 

  • License suspension
    • The individual’s driver’s license can be suspended by the state for 30 to 90 days. Teenagers with a probationary license are required to complete a four-hour remedial driving course without the possibility of receiving a basic driver’s license for one year. If the driver has a learner’s permit, he or she must complete the four-hour class and face an additional 90 days suspension. Subsequent DWI offenses can result in further license suspensions or revocations.
  • Community service
    • Underage DWI offenders can be ordered by the court to complete 15 to 30 days of community service.
  • Treatment
    • All underage DWI offenders are required to complete the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program or a similarly approved rehabilitation program. The IDRC will conduct an evaluation and interview before referring the driver to a treatment level that is appropriate. This level is based on the evaluation, the individual’s driving record, and the BAC at the time of the violation. The driver may also be ordered to pay fees associated with these programs. 

If you are facing charges for an underage DWI, reach out to our firm today. We will explore all possible avenues of defense.


Kevin T. Conway is an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need an aggressive criminal lawyer, contact The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway for a free consultation.

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