Consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21 is always illegal. If an individual under the age of 21 faces charges of underage drinking and driving, the repercussions can be quite serious. If charged with underage DUI in New Jersey or New York, it is critical to respond with a strong defense.
Even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was well below .08 percent at the time of your arrest, you face potentially serious consequences. With legal assistance, however, you can effectively confront DUI or DWI charges and mitigate the impact of certain penalties.
The penalties associated with underage drinking and driving
It is important to take these charges seriously, even if it is your first offense and you are young. Underage drivers caught with a BAC of .02 to .07 percent are not immune from serious consequences, some of which may include:
- Minimum 30-day loss of license; maximum 90 days
- Minimum 15-day community service, maximum 30 days
- Minimum 12 hours of intoxicated driver classes
The courts reserve the right to implement harsher punishments based on the details of the individual case. For example, if your BAC was extremely high, you had another person in the car with you or someone suffered injuries in an accident that you caused, the severity of the penalties will increase.
While it is important for the court to send a strong message about the dangers of drinking and driving, you have the right to defend yourself and protect your future. A one-time mistake does not have to derail your life or interfere with your opportunities in the future, but you should not underestimate the potential impact that these charges can have.
Protect your rights and your future interests
If you find yourself facing underage DUI or DWI charges, or your child's future is in jeopardy after an underage drinking and driving charge, you have options. A lawyer can explain the defense options that are most appropriate for the individual and provide a careful evaluation of the case against you or your child.
Every case is unique, and your individual needs and legal objectives should determine the direction of your defense strategy. The first step to protecting your right to drive and future opportunities is to obtain defense counsel as soon as possible after an arrest.