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New Jersey Underage DWI

New Jersey state law covers a wide range of alcohol-related offenses for minors. A driver under the age of 21 could be charged with the following:

DWI Under 21 (BAC 0.01%- 0.079%)

License Suspension Community Service IDRC Detainment Fines & Surcharges
Under 21 DWI, BAC .01-.079% 30-90 days 15-30 days Required Possible

DWI Under 21 (BAC over 0.08%)

Tier Description Jail Sentence License Suspension IDRC Detainment Fines Surcharges
General DWI B.A.C.=.08 to 0.99%, Up to 30 days 3 months 12-48 hours $250-$400 $3,000+
High Rate DWI B.A.C.=.10 or higher,
Controlled Substance DWI
Up to 30 days 7-12 months 12-48 hours $300-$500 $3,000+

Under 21 Possession or Consumption of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle

Under this statute, any underage person who consumes or possesses alcohol in a motor vehicle may be charged, including passengers.

License Suspension Fines
Under 21 Possession or Consumption in a MV 6 months $500


A DWI conviction early in life can trigger a number of consequences that can impact important aspects of a young person’s future, such as:

  • Education: Colleges and universities commonly perform background checks, and a DWI conviction may result in the denial of an application for enrollment or a scholarship.
  • Employment: Employers may be hesitant to hire someone with a DWI on their record.
  • Insurance: Car insurance companies may deny coverage altogether for young adults with a DWI. If coverage is offered, the rates will be extremely expensive.

Defending an Under 21 DWI Case

There are many defenses available for underage DWI cases in New Jersey. One of the main defenses is the low threshold of 0.01% BAC. Many natural and artificial substances can cause a breath test to register a low BAC reading.

An experienced DWI attorney will know what defenses are suitable after a thorough review of your case.