Risks of Underage Drinking and Driving

underage drinkingProm and High School graduations are approaching, which means celebrations and parties with friends. Getting caught up in the festivities along with peer pressure unfortunately can lead to underage drinking and driving under the influence. According to a Time.com article on teen thought processes and risky behavior, teens think very differently than adults do. While adults tend to concentrate on the end results of a behavior, teens “may get lost in the details about specific risks and (become) overly focused on possible rewards, while ignoring the overall ‘gist’ of the problem—i.e., the ultimate consequences.”

Consequences of “Ignoring the Problem”

The consequences of underage drinking (N.J.S.A. 2C: 33-15) in New Jersey and DWI convictions (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14) can carry some very harsh penalties and is taken very seriously. This is why you need an experienced DWI lawyer who is ready to fight to protect your rights. Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor.

Zero-Tolerance Law

In the early 1980s, zero-tolerance laws were introduced in reaction to the high level of underage drinking and driving injuries and death rates across the country. New Jersey (as well as all states) has implemented zero-tolerance laws compromised of two components:

  • The first: if a minor under 21 years of age is caught driving with a negligible percentage of alcohol in his or her blood, they will be arrested for a DUI immediately.
  • The second: if the minor is caught driving with any level of alcohol in the system, their license will be automatically suspended or revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

Scary Stats:

  • Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, and according to recent NHTSA (National Highway and Transport Safety Administration) figures, approximately 33% of traffic deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds are alcohol-related.
  • Each day, people drive drunk almost 300,000 times, but fewer than 4,000 are arrested.
  • Almost half of all 10th graders drink alcohol.
  • About half of all drivers who were killed in crashes and tested positive for drugs also had alcohol in their system.
  • High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more likely to drop out of school.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver.
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year – that’s more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • One in six teens binge drinks, yet only 1 in 100 parents believe his or her teen binge drinks.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) offers a prom plan for teens to set a healthier, safer course for their lives preventing destructive decisions such as underage drinking and driving.

Contact an Attorney for a Charge of Underage Drinking and Underage DWI

If you are under the age of twenty-one and you were charged with underage drinking or an underage DWI in Monmouth County or Ocean County, whether it was drinking in public or on private property such as a house party; you should consult with a New Jersey Underage Drinking Lawyer today to protect your rights. Your situation is important to us, which is why the attorneys at Villani & DeLuca can be reached 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 888-389-9533.