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Underage DUI

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Trenton Underage DUI Lawyers

Juvenile Underage DWI Defense Attorneys in Mercer County, NJ, securing your rights on the road in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Throughout New Jersey

A youthful mistake in the form of an underage DUI can get you in a lot of trouble. Your future is at stake. Our Trenton underage DUI lawyers can help you fight these charges and seek an outcome that will minimize the effects of the charges on your future. 

As stressful as it is to be facing these charges, having professional guidance can help you approach the proceedings ahead with confidence. At Scardella Law Firm, our juvenile underage DWI defense attorneys in Mercer County, NJ, have a deep understanding of the nuances of underage drinking and driving laws. Whether you’re still a minor or a legal adult below the drinking age, you can count on us to protect your rights and put up a strong defense on your behalf. 

What Constitutes an Underage DUI in New Jersey? 

New Jersey follows a zero-tolerance rule as it pertains to underage drinking and driving. For those under age 21, any detectable amount of alcohol in your system—measuring 0.01% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or above—can lead to DUI or DWI charges. Consuming a single alcoholic drink may be enough to get you charged with a DUI, even if the same amount of alcohol would not necessarily constitute a DUI for a driver over 21. 

You can be charged with an underage DUI if you have alcohol in your system while operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle in any capacity. This includes driving, but it may also include sitting or sleeping in the driver’s seat of a parked car (whether or not the keys are in the ignition). 

If you’ve been charged with this serious offense, you need to consult seasoned Trenton underage DUI lawyers as soon as possible to protect your rights and begin putting together your defense. 

Underage DUI Charges in Mercer County, NJ

In Mercer County and elsewhere in New Jersey, underage DUI charges remain a considerable concern. Whether alleged violations occur on the streets of busy cities like Trenton and Hamilton, around college campuses in Princeton and Ewing, or in residential regions throughout the county, underage DUIs can pose significant consequences. Fighting underage DUI charges in Trenton and throughout Mercer County requires skilled legal representation. 

Underage DUI Consequences

If convicted of an underage DUI offense, you may be facing a long list of potential penalties, depending on your unique circumstances. The amount of alcohol in your system, as measured by your BAC level, affects the charges and potential penalties you could face. So does any history of prior DUI convictions you may have. 

Consequences for a Baby DUI Offense 

Charges of underage DUI with a BAC between 0.01% and 0.08%—the legal BAC limit for adults 21 and over—are sometimes referred to colloquially as a “baby DUI.” Although serious, this charge generally carries less severe penalties than if your BAC was high enough to exceed the limit established for adults over 21. 

Potential sentences that could be imposed if you are convicted of a DUI with a BAC under 0.08% include: 

  • Loss of driving privileges for 30 to 90 days or, if under age 17, a 30- to 90-day postponement of processing your driver’s license
  • Fines of up to $500
  • Court-ordered community service for 15 to 30 days 
  • Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for mandatory alcohol education and highway safety programs

Suppose that your BAC is higher than 0.08% or that this violation constitutes a repeat offense. You could be facing far more serious consequences. 

Penalties for Underage Offenders With a BAC Above 0.08%

Your age won’t protect you from facing significant consequences if the amount of alcohol in your system exceeds the legal limit for drivers 21 and older. In this situation, you can face the same penalties as drivers who are of age. These consequences include fines, jail time, license suspension, and more. 

First Offenses

For a first offense of driving with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.10%, even underaged, you could be sentenced to the following: 

  • Fines between $250 and $400
  • Additional fees and surcharges that could add up to thousands of dollars
  • Up to 30 days of imprisonment 
  • Loss of license for three months 
  • Community service 
  • Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

If your BAC exceeds 0.10%, a conviction can result in the following penalties: 

  • Fines between $300 and $500
  • Additional fees and surcharges that could add up to thousands of dollars
  • Up to 30 days of imprisonment 
  • Loss of license for seven months to one year
  • Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device at your expense during the period of license suspension and for six months to a year following your license restoration 
  • Community service 
  • Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

The penalties for DUI, even if you are underage, get steeper with higher BAC levels and multiple offenses. 

Second Offenses

For a second DUI offense, you could be facing penalties such as: 

  • Fines between $500 and $1,000
  • Additional fees and surcharges that could add up to thousands of dollars
  • A minimum of 48 hours of imprisonment, with a maximum prison term of 90 days
  • Loss of license for two years
  • Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device at your expense during the period of license suspension and for one to three years following your license restoration 
  • 30 days of community service 
  • Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

Third and Subsequent Offenses

A third or subsequent DUI offense while underage will cause you to face the same consequences as offenders 21 and older, including: 

  • A $1,000 fine
  • Additional fees and surcharges that could add up to thousands of dollars
  • A prison term of 180 days
  • Loss of license for 10 years
  • Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device at your expense during the period of license suspension and for one to three years following your license restoration 
  • Up to 90 days of community service 
  • Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

A DUI conviction, even if you’re underage, can affect your life now and for years to come. Underage offenders, in particular, may suffer from additional consequences such as loss of or limitations on their current or future education and career prospects if the conviction affects one or more of the following: 

  • The ability to get accepted into or remain in good standing in college
  • The ability to secure or maintain eligibility for financial aid 
  • Eligibility to live in campus housing

If you’re hoping to beat an underage DUI charge, you need professional representation from experienced Trenton underage DUI lawyers. 

How Scardella Law Firm Can Help 

At Scardella Law Firm, our team of juvenile underage DWI defense attorneys in Mercer County, NJ, has an extensive history of defending clients against DUI charges of all kinds. We begin every case with a thorough evaluation and investigation of the facts. That knowledge allows us to explore all possible defense arguments and strategies, including questioning the following: 

  • The legality of the traffic stop during which you were arrested for DUI
  • The validity of breath test results or other chemical testing
  • The calibration and maintenance of the breathalyzer or other tools used in acquiring evidence against you 
  • The training received by the officer who performed the testing 
  • Whether proper procedures were followed in the course of the traffic stop, arrest, and acquisition and handling of test specimens 

We can incorporate any rights violations, improper procedures, or inconsistencies or inadequacies in the case against you into a strong, personalized defense that aims to seek a more positive resolution. 

Why Choose Scardella Law Firm as Your Trenton Underage DUI Lawyers

When it comes to defending against underage DUI charges and their serious consequences, you need to know your case is in capable hands. That’s why you need Scardella Law Firm to represent you. 

A History of Proven Results

Attorney Lauren E. Scardella, Esq. has dedicated her career to advocating for those accused of DUI and criminal offenses since 2009. Our team of juvenile underage DWI defense attorneys in Mercer County, NJ, has achieved favorable results for countless clients, including getting DWI and DUI charges dropped. 

Favorable Outcomes Achieved Through Personalized Defense

We provide personalized attention and customized legal strategies, based on meticulous research and investigation, to every client, because we know nothing less will achieve the goal of reaching a favorable resolution to their case. 

In-Depth Knowledge of the Criminal Justice System

Our familiarity with both the adult and juvenile criminal systems in Mercer County, including Lauren E. Scardella’s prior experience interning in the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and working for the Criminal Part of the New Jersey Superior Court for Monmouth County in Freehold, positions us to skillfully handle all underage DUI matters. 

Contact the Trenton Underage DUI Lawyers at Scardella Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

Don’t wait to take action. Underage DUI charges won’t resolve themselves, and they’re serious enough to affect your life in significant ways. We’re just as serious about providing exceptional, aggressive legal representation based on carefully crafted defense strategies that perfectly fit the unique facts of your case. 

Securing legal representation starts with a free, confidential telephone consultation. For help from knowledgeable juvenile underage DWI defense attorneys in Mercer County, NJ, contact Scardella Law Firm online or call us today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Underage DUI Charges in Trenton

What is the legal BAC limit for a minor? 

Under the state’s zero-tolerance law, it’s illegal to be in physical control of a vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system if you are under 21 years of age (even if you are 18 or older, making you legally an adult). The legal limit of 0.01% BAC reflects this strict rule. Driving after just one drink, if you’re below the age of 21, may put you at risk of being charged with an underage DUI violation.

What happens if you get a DUI underage? 

Underage DUI penalties are serious enough to affect your life for years, especially if your BAC was high enough to expose you to the penalties imposed in adult DUI cases. At a minimum, you will lose your license for some time, have to perform community service, and have to undergo an alcohol and traffic safety education program at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. With a higher BAC or a repeat offense, you might face jail time, fines of up to $1,000, additional financial penalties, an extended license suspension, and other consequences. 

How much does an underage DUI cost?

Exactly how much your underage DUI will cost you depends on your BAC and your history of prior offenses. For a first offense with a BAC above 0.01% but below 0.08%, you could be looking at a relatively low financial burden. However, if your charges constitute a repeat offense or a violation with a BAC above 0.08%, the costs can easily climb into the range of thousands of dollars. 

Can an underage DUI be expunged in New Jersey? 

An underage DUI can stay on your record for 10 years, and because New Jersey technically considers DUIs as serious traffic offenses rather than disorderly persons or indictable offenses, expunging these convictions is not an option. You may be able to consider options like seeking post-conviction relief with the assistance of our knowledgeable Trenton underage DUI lawyers.

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