The law prohibits people under the age of 21 from drinking for a reason. Young adults often don’t make the best decisions, and alcohol can further inhibit caution and impair their judgment. And while underage possession or consumption of alcohol itself is a crime, it can also lead to other violations of New Jersey law.
New Jersey has aggressive laws against underage drinking. If your child is facing underage drinking charges, you’re likely worried about the impact this could have on their life. An experienced underage drinking NJ attorney can help to protect your son or daughter against the full extent of penalties under the law. To learn more about how we can help, contact Samuel Louis Sachs, Esq. LLC. We will review your situation and help you obtain the best possible outcome for your child.
What Are New Jersey’s Underage Drinking Laws?
New Jersey’s laws that address underage drinking can be found in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice Title 2C:33-15. These laws prohibit drinking by people under the age of 21 on public property. That includes locations such as parking lots, parks, school property, sports fields, and in schools.
The law also prohibits underage drinking in vehicles. In fact, a person who is under 21 may not even be in possession of alcohol that is unopened and in a motor vehicle.
New Jersey also prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing alcohol. It is illegal to misrepresent one’s age and purchase alcohol. It is also illegal to have someone who is at least 21 purchase alcohol for someone who is under 21. This would be considered furnishing alcohol to a minor, and both individuals could be charged.
Both consumption of alcohol and possession of alcohol in public places are illegal in New Jersey. Thus, your child may face more than one charge at the same time depending on the actions they took when they were arrested.
Specifically, NJSA 33-1-81 makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to:
- Enter a location such as a liquor store or bar that is licensed to sell alcohol for the purpose of buying alcohol or ordering it to be served;
- Consume alcohol at a public location, such as a restaurant, bar, or other licensed location;
- Ask someone 21 or over to purchase alcohol for them; and
- Misrepresent their age for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining alcohol.
Penalties for Underage Drinking in New Jersey
If your child is caught underage drinking, then they may face serious penalties that can impact them now and in the future. An underage drinking NJ charge is considered a disorderly persons offense. There is a fine of at least $500 associated with that conviction. However, your child could face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
If your child commits an underage drinking offense in a motor vehicle, they may also have their license suspended or postponed for at least six months. If your teen is not yet 17, a license suspension could run until six months after they turn 17. This would impact your entire family, as they would not be able to drive to school or work. Disregarding a license suspension or driving without a license could result in additional charges and penalties.
An underage drinking conviction stays on one’s permanent criminal record. Background checks by employers, schools, and apartments would allow them to see that your child has an underage drinking conviction.
You should work with a skilled underage drinking NJ attorney to avoid the harshest of penalties. You may need help appearing in court, bonding out of jail, and addressing accusations by the prosecutor. Your child may also face juvenile charges or be addressed in adult court, depending on their age. A DWI attorney at Samuel Louis Sachs, Esq. LLC has experience can help you navigate the system.
Speak to an Underage Drinking NJ Lawyer Today
Many teens think underage drinking isn’t a big deal, but it can have serious consequences on a young person’s life. Call Samuel Louis Sachs, Esq. LLC today for information about how we can help you and your child.