In New Jersey, the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol is 21. The law prohibits the consumption of alcohol in any amount for those who are considered underage. Minors who hold a driver’s license or temporary permit can face charges if they are found to have as little as 0.01% of alcohol in their blood.

Drivers showing a BAC of up to 0.079% will be charged with having alcohol in their system while being underage; however, any minors with a BAC of 0.04% or higher might still be charged with a DWI if the police can prove they are exhibiting behaviors indicating that they are under the influence of alcohol and are impaired to drive a car.

The penalties for underage DWI vary depending on the BAC number. Drivers who are not 21 years old and have a BAC of up to 0.079% will lose their license for up to 90 days and be required to participate in mandatory community services. They are also required to attend a class at the IDRC (Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center) and pay a $500 fine. Underage drivers who are found to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher will likely be charged with a regular DWI and be subject to penalties prescribed to DWI offenders 21 or older.

What Happens If a Minor is Caught With a Fake I.D. in New Jersey?

Another common issue for underage drivers is fake identification in an attempt to purchase or consume alcohol by impersonating someone who is legal-aged. In New Jersey, the law says it is illegal to possess, display, create and sell a fake id, and constitutes a disorderly person’s offense.

Such an offense carries significant penalties, including a driver’s license suspension. Any underage persons caught using a fake id can also be required to pay a $500 to $1000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Get The Legal Help You Need for Your DWI Case

Facing DWI charges at a young age can be stressful, especially considering its consequences on the offender’s life. A skilled DWI attorney might be able to help minimize the penalties received, and in some cases, fight to have them dismissed. New Jersey has a zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking and equally harsh penalties for minors who consume or simply carry alcoholic drinks in their vehicle. A DWI charge does not automatically mean a conviction, so it is extremely important to contact a criminal defense attorney in Jersey City early in the process. Our firm has a team of DWI attorneys that can help you navigate the complicated laws of New Jersey and reach a favorable outcome. Contact us at 201-798-4024 as soon as possible to review your case.