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Middlesex County Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Over 200 Years of Combined Experience
  • Former Director in Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office
  • Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys
  • Former Municipal Prosecutor in Edison, Woodbridge, New Brunswick, Piscataway & Other Local Towns
  • 10 Attorneys Practicing Exclusively in DUI & Criminal Defense

DWI With a Minor

East Brunswick NJ DWI With A Minor Defense Lawyer

When an individual commits a DWI with a minor in their vehicle, they not only face the penalties for a motor vehicle violation, namely, a DWI, but also a separate criminal offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15. In this regard, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15 makes it a disorderly persons offense to drive under the influence with a minor as a passenger. As a result, a person is subjected to two serious offenses when they are arrested for DUI and there is a child in their vehicle. The scenario can get even worse if the police and/or prosecutor decide that it is a situation that warrants the filing of an endangering the welfare of a child charge. There is no question that a skilled DWI/DUI defense lawyer can prove invaluable for someone faced with this situation in East Brunswick, Sayreville, Woodbridge, Edison, Old Bridge or elsewhere in New Jersey. This is where our law firm can help you as we have one of the more formidable driving while intoxicated defense teams in the entire state. We encourage you to review the information on this page, as well as the credentials of our firm, and contact our East Brunswick Office at 732-227-1200 if you are facing a charge under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15.

Driving Under the Influence With a Minor As A Passenger Offense

Although the law for DWI with a minor is contained in the motor vehicle statutes, the violation is actual a disorderly persons offense — a criminal charge. The related law reads as follows:

39:4-50.15. Additional penalty for driving under the influence with a minor as a passenger.

1. a. As used in this act:

“Minor” means a person who is 17 years of age or younger.

“Parent or guardian” means any natural parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, stepparent, or any person temporarily responsible for the care, custody or control of a minor or upon whom there is a legal duty for such care, custody or control.

b.     A parent or guardian who is convicted of a violation of R.S.39:4-50 and who, at the time of the violation, has a minor as a passenger in the motor vehicle is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

c.     In addition to the penalties otherwise prescribed by law, a person who is convicted under subsection b. of this section shall forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not more than six months and shall be ordered to perform community service for a period of not more than five days.

Elements of Offense. To obtain a conviction under 39:4-50.15, the prosecutor must establishe that the accused was operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a minor child was in the vehicle, and the accused was legally responsible for the minor child. For an individual to be deemed under the influence of drugs or alcohol they must satisfy certain objective criteria.  For the purpose of being under the influence of alcohol, the driver must have a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, usually via a breath test.  With regard to persons under the influence of drugs, police typically prove the presence of the drug through urinalysis or blood, and that the accused was under the influence of the drug through a testing performed by a drug recognition expert (DRE). As to the elements that the accused is legally responsible for the child, an adult will be responsible for the child if they are a parent, stepparent, foster parent, or legal guardian. The adult will also be deemed legally responsible if they voluntarily accepted responsibility for the child (e.g.. adult acting in a supervisory capacity such as a coach, teacher, baby sitter, or similar guardian).

Penalties for DWI With a Minor

It is a disorderly persons offense, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, to commit a DWI with a minor passenger. Up to six (6) months in the county jail, a $1,000 fine, a six (6) month license suspension, and five (5) days of community service may be imposed at the time of sentencing. Judges are often particularly aggressive when it comes to imposing penalties for driving while intoxicated and an aggravating factor of having a child in the car does not help the defendant’s situation. 

Edison DWI With a Minor Attorneys

If you were charged with driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs with a minor in your vehicle such as a son or daughter, you clearly need to consult our attorneys immediately. The penalties if you are convicted of this offense are so extreme that you cannot reasonable expect a favorable outcome unless you hire a lawyer who can mount a competent defense. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the skills to serve you in this role and are available to assist you immediately. For a free consultation with a member of our defense team, contact our New Brunswick Office at 732-246-7126.