What to do When Charged with an Underage DUI

The adolescence period of adulthood is critical when developing into a mature adult. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol will result in major consequences. In New Jersey, there is a zero tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21 and alcohol. This means that any breathalyzer test revealing a blood alcohol concentration level greater that 0.01% will put underage drivers in violation with New Jersey Law. The zero tolerance policy will make a challenging case and should consult with a DWI lawyer in NJ.

What was the Blood Alcohol Concentration Level?

The reading of the BAC level will determine with what charges are being set against the driver. If the BAC ranges between 0.01% and 0.08% the driver will be charged as a minor with an underage DWI offense. If the driver had a BAC level of anything greater than the New Jersey legal limit of 0.08%, the driver can be charged as an adult; as well as an underage DWI offense.


Possible other charges

New Jersey is infamous for having strict underage DWI laws for a reason. If a driver has been charged with driving under the influence, the driver can face a multiple of other charges.

-Distributing alcohol to other minors
-Minor in Possession
-Soliciting alcohol
-Child endangerment law violations
-Possession of false identification
-Moving and vehicle maintenance violations

When questioned by a police officer when the vehicle has been pulled over, answer any questions carefully. Express the right to an attorney before answering. An attorney can assure that the drive doesn’t incriminate them self because any answers given can be in a court of law.

Alternative Plea

Regardless of the BAC level, the driver should expect community service as part of any plea. Drivers charged with a DWI will have to attend an alcohol education and highway safety program as well. However, a lawyer may be able to negotiate an alternative plea that will not suspend the driver’s license.

Not only can a lawyer negotiate the alternative plea to save the license of the driver, but the plea can help the driver get their life back on track. Colleges, employers, and many other institutions perform background checks on applicants. Any adolescent will not want to miss out on these opportunities on behalf of the reckless DWI offense that could appear on their permanent record.


With any DWI charge, insurance companies come after the driver with penalties and possible termination of their policies. When an insurance provider rejects or terminates their policy, other companies will be hesitant to offer coverage at reasonable rates. Expect higher coverage rates for a minimum of 3 years. With all the legal and insurance battles, it will be best to contact a lawyer who can help sort everything out.

DUI lawyer


Future Offenses

Any future DWI offenses can be affected, depending whether the driver was charged with a Juvenile DWI or as an adult DWI offense. For example, if the driver receives a DWI charge in their 40’s, but they got an underage DWI offense when they were 17; this will be their first offense of a DWI. On the contrary, if that same driver actually was charged with an adult DWI offense when they were 17 (BAC greater than 0.08%), the new DWI offense will be viewed as their second offense.

If you, your child, your friend, or any one you know has been charged with an underage DWI offense in New Jersey, contact us here at law offices of Thomas V Campo to be your DUI Lawyer. As with any DWI case, Thomas Campo has the expertise in traffic violations to defend your side. Know your rights today.

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