Teens in New Jersey often do not think there is anything wrong with underage drinking. Since alcohol is a legal substance, it is not seen as overt law breaking to consume alcohol. In reality, it is illegal and there are penalties for it. Those penalties are made exponentially worse when a teen not only chooses to drink, but also commits underage drinking and driving. Since the state is so invested in safety on the roads and making certain that teens are able to drive effectively when they are given their license, an act like driving drunk while underage will lead to significant issues after it happens.
The laws of the state make clear that a person must be at least 21 to buy, have and drink alcohol. Adults who provide an underage person with alcohol will also be penalized if it is proven that they did so. A person who purchases or drinks alcohol at a location that has a liquor license will have the driver’s license suspended for six months. If the person has not yet received his or her license, the the suspension will begin as soon as the driver is eligible to receive the license. In addition, the underage person will have to take part in a treatment program or program for education on the dangers of alcohol.
Drivers who are under 21 and found to be drinking and driving will be charged if they have .01 percent blood alcohol content. In essence, that means if there is any alcohol in the system, they will face charges. This stems from the state’s zero tolerance policy. There will be penalties for a conviction including: revocation of driving privileges for one to three months; between 15 and 30 days of community service; and the requirement to take part in a traffic safety program.
One of the most exciting times in a teen’s life is when he or she is about to receive a driver’s license. While it is a rite of passage, many do not realize there are laws that must be adhered to in order to retain driving privileges. Legal punishments can have long-term consequences and cause extensive problems. When a young person is stopped and charged with underage drinking and driving, there is the possibility that he or she is not guilty. Regardless of the circumstances, it is wise to discuss the matter with a legal professional experienced in providing defense for juveniles.