Underage DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving, The ‘Baby’ DUI

     If you are under the age to buy alcoholic beverages, New Jersey has a special Drunk Driving statute, sometimes referred to as the ‘Baby DUI/DWI’. Essentially for a person under the age of 21 to consume any alcohol and drive, virtually ensures this ticket if stopped by an officer. Besides the age of the offender, the main difference in prosecuting these offenses is that the BAC or blood alcohol level at which a conviction may be obtained is 0.01 or more. This is an incredibly low number, particularly as even the lower level DUI DWI in New Jersey, for which a 3 month suspension will apply, begins with a 0.08. The normal DUI DWI or Drunk Driving Charge in New Jersey begins at a 0.1 level, which is 10 times the level required for the ‘baby’ DUI DWI. What this means is that virtually any alcohol in the system of an underage driver in New Jersey, may result in a conviction under this section.

     The full text of the Statute including the penalties, is reproduced below:

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14

39:4-50.14. Operation of motor vehicle by person who has consumed alcohol but is under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages; penalties

 

Any person under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01% or more, but less than 0.08%, by weight of alcohol in his blood, shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State or shall be prohibited from obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle in this State for a period of not less than 30 or more than 90 days beginning on the date he becomes eligible to obtain a license or on the day of conviction, whichever is later, and shall perform community service for a period of not less than 15 or more than 30 days.

In addition, the person shall satisfy the program and fee requirements of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center or participate in a program of alcohol education and highway safety as prescribed by the chief administrator.

The penalties provided under the provisions of this section shall be in addition to the penalties which the court may impose under N.J.S.2C:33-15, R. S.33:1-81, R.S.39:4-50 or any other law.

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    When this law was passed the NJ Assembly Judiciary Committee gave a statement as to the reasons for the law, as follows:

ASSEMBLY JUDICIARY, LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

Assembly, Nos. 1447 and 1426--L.1992, c. 189

The Assembly Judiciary, Law and Public Safety Committee reports favorably an Assembly Committee Substitute for Assembly Bills Nos. 1447 and 1426.

This substitute establishes penalties for any driver under the age of 21 who is found to have consumed an alcoholic beverage.

Under the provisions of the substitute, a driver under the age of 21 who is found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.01% or more, but less than 0.10% (the statutory standard for designating a person as “under the influence” of an alcoholic beverage), would forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle for not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days and perform community service for not less than 15 or more than 30 days.

The person also would be required to satisfy the program and fee requirements of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center by participation in a program of alcohol education and highway safety, as prescribed by the Department of Law and Public Safety.

The penalties provided in this bill are in addition to those the court is currently authorized to impose for the purchase, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages by underaged persons. The substitute includes a reference to R.S.39:4-50 because it is not intended to preclude any efforts to prosecute under that section for a possible DWI conviction.

The committee wishes to note that this substitute is not intended to be the basis for any increase or imposition of automobile insurance surcharges for this new offense.

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Former Municipal Court Judge* Robert Avery, Esq., has over 35 years of experience in the analysis and defense of DUI-DWI and Drunk Driving Matters, as well as all other Traffic Related tickets and Summonses. 


Mr. Avery regularly defends DUI-DWI and Drunk Driving Matters, as well as all other Traffic Related tickets and Summonses in all Municipal Courts in the Northern New Jersey region, including those in Bergen County, Hudson County, Passaic County and Morris County, as well as those in the Central Municipal Court in Hackensack, and the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Court.


You are invited to call the offices of Avery & Avery, Esq., at 201-943-2445, or to contact us through our contact page, to schedule a free initial consultation, to see how we can help you with your DUI-DWI and Drunk Driving Matters, as well as all other Traffic Related tickets and Summonses.


We know you have questions. The following is a description of the potential pentalties you may be facing, taken from the New Jersey Statute which governs the trial of DUI-DWI and Drunk Driving Violations, and which govern all Municipal Courts in New Jersey. Following the penalty section are some frequently asked questions, and answers.


Again, should you have further questions, you are invited to call us at 201-943-2445, or to contact us through our contact page, to schedule a free initial consultation.

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