The Penalties for Underage DUI in New Jersey

A DUI offense in New Jersey comes with significant penalties. Depending on the specific offenses committed, one can expect to face fines, possible jail time, and the loss of their license. Yet, what happens when a minor is charged with DUI in New Jersey? The penalties for underage DUI can differ from a DUI charge for an adult.

Here we will discuss the penalties a minor would face if they were charged with an underage DUI:

New Jersey’s Baby DUI Statute

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14, also commonly referred to as the Baby DUI statute, an individual under the legal drinking age, caught driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content (BAC) ranging between 0.01% and 0.08%, can be arrested and charged with a DUI offense.

In New Jersey, a DUI offense is a serious crime, no matter whether the individual is of legal drinking age or underage. Being charged with a Baby DUI is not as severe a charge as if an individual was charged with a standard DUI, yet the penalties are still significant. The penalties could include some or all of the following:

Community Service Sentencing: The charged driver could be ordered to serve anywhere between 15 to 30 days of community service.

Rehabilitation/Treatment: An individual may be sentenced to attend up to 48 hours of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) or approved equivalent program.

Suspension of License: An underage driver facing charges may have their license suspended for up to 90 days. If the driver has a probationary license, they will also have to complete a 4-hour remedial driving course, and their license will remain in a probationary status for one year. If the driver only possesses a learner’s permit, they will again have to attend the class, and an additional 90-day suspension will be placed on their license once issued.

When Are Standard DUI Charges Used in New Jersey?

If an underage driver is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that exceeds 0.08%, they will face charges of a standard DUI. These charges can include stiff penalties, including significant fines, jail time, the installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, and even more.

Depending on the severity of the event, a standard DUI charge can impact an underage individual’s ability to keep their license and even cost them their freedom. New Jersey takes drinking and driving seriously, and those charged with the offense face the full force of the law.

Additional Charges In Relation To Underage DUI

Additionally, if an underage individual is charged with DUI, they may also be charged with additional crimes since they are not of the legal age to drink. These crimes can include:

Violation of the Open Container Law: Any container found open in a vehicle being driven by an underage individual is violating the open container law. If alcohol remains in the container, this is considered an additional violation.

Underage Drinking: Underage drivers facing a DUI can also be charged with underage drinking as they are not of the legal age to consume alcohol. In fact, any person under the age of 21 can be charged under this law for having alcoholic beverages in the car.

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