A New Jersey teen recently learned a difficult lesson when he got behind the wheel of his mother’s Chevy Malibu after partaking of a controlled dangerous substance. After careening off the road and colliding with a tree, the car erupted in flames, leaving the driver to flee for his life. Police officers at the scene found the teen driver nearby, behaving suspiciously and denying his involvement in the fiery crash.
Law enforcement suspected that the fire resulted from a gas can pilfered from a landscaping trailer found near the car. In an inexplicable stroke of good fortune, the driver escaped with only minor scratches. The driver did not, however, escape without several serious criminal charges, including careless driving and driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance.
How big of a problem is underage DUI?
Unfortunately, the driver in the crash described above is in plentiful company, with 8 percent of all high school students in the United States admitting to having driven after drinking alcohol and 24 percent to riding with drivers who had consumed alcohol. More than 1,000 people under the age of 21 are killed in drunk driving fatalities every year. To bring the point home, more than three people under age 21 die in alcohol-impaired crashes every day.
What DUI charges might underage drivers in New Jersey face?
With these statistics in mind, it should come as no surprise that New Jersey law does not treat underage DUI drivers with kid gloves. In fact, individuals under 21 who are convicted of driving (or boating) with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01 percent or greater may be subject to:
Mandatory sentences of 15 to 30 days of community service
License suspensions of up to 90 days
Required programs related to highway safety and alcohol education