A 19 year old Toms River man narrowly avoided a disaster this weekend. He lost control of his vehicle on Route 34 in Wall, crossed the median, entered a gas station and collided with a gas pump. His SUV sustained considerable damage which prevented the suspect from escaping the scene. He has been charged with DWI, Underage DWI, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. His case is scheduled to be heard in Wall Township Municipal Court.
Where an individual is below legal drinking age, he or she can be charged with Underage Driving While Intoxicated. This offense carries less severe penalties than a traditional DWI, for example, limited license suspension, reduced fines, and the conviction does not constitute a conviction for purposes of a subsequent adult DWI. The draw back of an underage conviction is the fact that it only applies where an individual has a BAC below .08% or no readings.
In this particular case, I suspect that the defendant’s age shall provide significant opportunity for the defense to mitigate his penalties. If the breath test readings can be suppressed or dismissed, the suspect may be able to limit his license suspension substantially. This is the angle we would pursue on this case.