Defense Attorneys for Underage Alcohol Possession in Ocean County, New Jersey
Partying at the Jersey Shore is highly common, with bars, clubs, concerts, and backyard barbecues held all summer long. Alcohol is an inevitable feature of these festivities and many times, young people find themselvesdrinking underage. Unfortunately, New Jersey has a strict “no tolerance” policy when it comes to drinking or even possessing alcohol under the legal drinking age of 21. When you are found with any alcohol at all in your system, or in possession of alcoholic beverages, you can be charged with a serious criminal offense that bears significant consequences. In fact, underage possession or consumption of alcohol is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, in addition to fines, possible community service, and a charge that will remain on your criminal record. Fortunately, underage drinking charges can be successfully resolved with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At the law firm of Proetta & Oliver, our Ocean County criminal defense attorneys concentrate solely on criminal defense for clients throughout Ocean County and New Jersey, including in Seaside Heights, Lavallette, Point Pleasant, Beach Haven, Seaside Park, and Mantoloking. If you have been charged with an underage alcohol offense such as underage drinking, underage DWI, disorderly conduct, or possession of a fake ID, contact our offices in Point Pleasant today at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation.
Underage Drinking in New Jersey: N.J.S.A 2C:33-15
Charges for underage possession and consumption of alcohol are addressed in section N.J.S.A 2C:33-15 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which mandates the following:
Any person under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages who knowingly possesses without legal authority or who knowingly consumes any alcoholic beverage in any school, public conveyance, public place, or place of public assembly, or motor vehicle, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and shall be fined not less than $500.00.
Notably, the statute contains an additional provision related to underage possession or consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, stating: “Whenever this offense is committed in a motor vehicle, the court shall, in addition to the sentence authorized for the offense, suspend or postpone for six months the driving privilege of the defendant.”
What Happens if You are Convicted of Underage Drinking in New Jersey?
As mentioned above, underage possession or consumption of alcohol is classified as a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, which may result in any of the following penalties: up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000 (for this offense the minimum fine is $500), and a charge on the defendant’s criminal record which can only be removed through the process of expungement. Also, if your underage drinking charge originates in a motor vehicle, an additional penalty of 6 month’s driver’s license suspension or postponement applies. If you were driving at the time, or the State can prove that you were operating a motor vehicle under the influence, you may also be charged with underage DWI.
Contact Point Pleasant NJ Underage Drinking Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
If you have been charged with underage drinking, providing alcohol to minors, or another alcohol-related offense in Ocean County, it is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. For a free consultation with one of our Ocean County underage drinking attorneys, contact our Point Pleasant offices today at (848) 238-2100.
For more information about New Jersey’s Underage Drinking Laws, access the New Jersey State Profile provided by the New Jersey Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.