Underage DWI in Edison NJ
A DWI conviction can have a significant impact on your life and possibly even more so if you are not even 21 years old and able to consume alcohol legally (i.e. underage). With your whole life ahead of you, you certainly don’t need DUI/DWI affecting your ability to maintain your driver’s license, obtain a job and employment, get into and attending the college of your dreams, or pursue any goal you have in mind for that matter. It is therefore very important for you to obtain proper representation from an attorney who can afford you every opportunity to avoid a driving while intoxicated conviction. The lawyers at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, can serve you well in this role. We have been defending individuals just like you for the better part of the last century between us, including routine appearances on countless DWI cases in Edison Township Municipal Court. Our staff of former prosecutors and experienced Edison DUI attorneys know what needs to be done in order to mount the best defense to you underage DWI violation. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you beat your Edison Township charge.
An underage DWI charge has all of the same elements as an adult DWI charge and is, therefore, primarily governed by NJSA 39:4-50. This means that in order to convict, the prosecution has the burden of establishing two elements, namely operation of a motor vehicle and intoxication. The operational element is usually easily established and can be shown in one of three ways. The first of these ways is through direct evidence of operation, which is the case where an arresting officer actually sees the accused operating the vehicle prior to the arrest. The second way for the prosecution to show operation is where the accused or someone else in the accused’s car tells the arresting officer that the accused was operating the vehicle. The third and final way is through the admission of circumstantial evidence, i.e. evidence that creates a presumption of operation without direct proof of operation. What circumstantial evidence is required will vary from case to case.
The intoxication element for an underage DWI case is also proven in the same way as an adult case and once again the prosecution has three ways that they may show intoxication. These three ways are, in no particular order, Field Sobriety Tests (the tests that ask you to recite the alphabet backwards, walk a straight line, etc.), a breathalyzer test (the State of New Jersey uses the Alcotest 7110), and the use of a blood test.
Where underage DWIs differ, however, from an adult DWI is in their definition of what is intoxication. Under NJSA 39:4-50.14, the state need only show that the driver’s BAC was greater than .01% in order for the driver to be guilty of an underage DWI. If the state can successfully show this, through one of the three methods listed above, then the driver will lose their license for 30-90 days starting on the day of conviction or on the day the driver turns 17. The driver will also have to perform between 15 and 30 days of community service. It is also of note that there are usually other things such as intoxicated driver’s resource programs and other little fees that only serve to make the offense more time-consuming and costly to the driver.
If, on the other hand, the person was in fact intoxicated and registered a BAC of .08% or higher, then they are treated as if they are an adult. This means that the penalties that would normally flow from a first, second, or third or subsequent DWI offense would apply with as much force to the underage person and begin to run either on the date of conviction or upon the accused attaining the age of 17.
Whether you are at the tail end of high school or attempting to enjoy an undergraduate education, the loss of your ability to go see your friends and, more seriously, the stain that having a DWI conviction on your record can have for your employment prospects should only serve to underscore the importance of obtaining counsel that is not only competent, but greatly qualified to handle these types of charges. Our experienced attorneys stand ready to defend you and answer any and all questions you may have in relation to your underage DWI charge in Edison Township.