New Jersey Juvenile Crime Attorney Advocates For Minors’ Rights In Underage Drinking Cases In Burlington And Camden Counties
New Jersey is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to underage drinking, especially if an individual under age 21 tests positive for alcohol use while operating a motor vehicle. Even in the juvenile crime context, underage drinking or driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges carry criminal consequences as well as loss of driving privileges and problems obtaining insurance coverage in the future. In some cases, a minor charged with underage drinking in New Jersey can even be charged as an adult or face additional charges that can serve as aggravating factors and lead to harsher punishment.
I am criminal defense attorney Stephen R. Piper, and I understand that a conviction for underage drinking or underage DWI can have a substantial impact on a minor’s future. If you or your child have been charged with underage drinking, you need an aggressive New Jersey criminal defense attorney on your side. I will fight to mitigate the impact of the charge both currently and with respect to the minor’s future. It is critical to remember that an underage drinking or DWI conviction can impact a child’s future and professional prospects long after the pain of the initial arrest and punishment have passed, making a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney a necessity in every case.
New Jersey Imposes Strict Penalties For Underage Drinking/DWI Offenses In Camden County, New Jersey
Underage drinking charges in New Jersey can arise in a variety of contexts, the most serious of which is while the minor is driving a motor vehicle. Under New Jersey law, underage drinking is illegal except:
- If the minor’s legal guardian consents and the drinking is on private property where alcohol is not sold
- For religious purposes
- For medical purposes when a physician has so ordered
- For educational purposes, such as in the context of a cooking school
In all other cases, it is illegal for a minor under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. Under New Jersey’s zero-tolerance rule, a minor is guilty of DWI once their blood alcohol level is at least .01%. The state has the burden of proving three elements of an underage DWI charge:
- The accused individual was operating a motor vehicle at the time of the arrest.
- The accused individual was under age 21, which is easily established via examining the minor’s driver’s license.
- The minor’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was at least .01%, which is typically established when the arresting officer administers a breath test.
Punishment can be severe, even for a first offense, when a minor can face imprisonment for between two and 90 days, a fine of between $500 and $1,000, a suspended license, community service and required participation in alcohol and traffic safety education programs. If the minor’s BAC is above .08%, the minor may be charged as an adult.
If other minors were present in the car and had been drinking, the minor who was driving the car can be charged with distributing alcohol to minors or child endangerment. If alcohol was present in the vehicle, the arresting officer may also bring a minor in possession charge.
In addition to potential criminal penalties that a juvenile can face for an underage DWI charge in New Jersey, many insurance companies will simply cancel the minor’s insurance after a DWI conviction or will substantially raise the premiums for an extended period of time (often for up to five years).
Providing Strong Defense Against Underage Drinking/DWI Charges In Cherry Hill, New Jersey
I am experienced in defending DWI charges for both adults and minors, and I will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the charge to formulate a strong and strategic defense. In certain cases, I may be able to argue that, because of the extremely low BAC reading required for conviction, some other type of substance caused the minor’s BAC to exceed .01%. Mitigating the potential future damage that can be caused by a DWI conviction will be my primary focus in building a strong defense in any case, especially those involving a minor.
Contact My Office Today And Beginning Developing Your Defense
If you or your child has been charged with underage drinking or driving while under the influence of alcohol as a minor, contact The Law Offices of Stephen R. Piper, LLC, in Moorestown for a free initial consultation today by calling 856-333-3586. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. I will use my knowledge and commitment to do everything possible to minimize the consequences of an underage drinking or DWI charge and protect your child’s future.