Is There a Different BAC Limit for Underage Drivers?

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driver taking breathalyzer

Upon being pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), a law enforcement officer may have you submit to a breathalyzer test. This test is used to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC) level, as there is a legal limit enforced in the state of New Jersey. Being found over this limit may come with a slew of criminal penalties. And if you are also under the legal drinking age of 21, this limit may be even stricter and therefore followed by harsher penalties. Read on to discover if there is a different BAC limit for underage drivers and how a seasoned Gloucester County DWI lawyer at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. can help you fight against the penalties placed against you.

Is there a different BAC limit for underage drivers in the state of New Jersey?

Generally speaking, the state of New Jersey has a legal BAC limit of 0.08 percent. Anything higher than 0.08 percent may mean that you are considered guilty of a DWI offense. In addition, anything higher than 0.10 percent may mean that you may be held responsible for even more severe consequences.

However, these legal BAC limits do not apply to underage drivers. That is, New Jersey law has a zero-tolerance BAC standard for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. This means that if a breathalyzer test detects your BAC level to be even as minor as 0.01 percent, a law enforcement officer may accuse you of a DWI offense.

What are the penalties for a first-offense DWI for underage drivers?

An underage driver may receive lesser penalties for driving while intoxicated than an adult driver. Nonetheless, these penalties must be taken seriously. They read as follows:

  • Penalties for an underage driver who has a BAC level of 0.01 percent or higher:
    • A driver’s license suspension for anywhere between one to three months.
    • Mandatory completion of community service for anywhere between 15 to 30 days.
    • Mandatory completion of an alcohol education course.
  • Penalties for an adult driver who has a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher:
    • A driver’s license suspension for anywhere between three months to one year.
    • A surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years.
    • A fine of up to $500.
    • Jail time for up to 30 days.
    • Mandatory completion of an alcohol education course.

With all this, it is worth mentioning that an underage driver may not be charged with a first-offense DWI so long as their BAC level is not higher than 0.08 percent. But even still, they may be facing an underage DWI charge with the aforementioned penalties.

You must not question your instinct to retain the services of one of the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers. Our team at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. will work to determine which legal option best suits you.

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