In New Jersey, underage drinking is considered more than a crime; it is addressed as a social, economic, and public health concern. From the medical costs associated with underage drinking, to the traffic fatalities and non-fatal traffic injuries attributed to underage drunk drivers, the State goes to great lengths to curtail the problem of underage drinking. Although New Jersey officials continuously monitor the prevalence of underage drinking and implement measures to reduce its incidence, the phenomenon perpetuates, with nearly 3 out of every 4 high school students admitting to drinking underage. In fact, according to the 2013 Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking, 316,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20-years-old used alcohol within a one-month period. Of that number, 214,000 had abused alcohol through binge-drinking. Recent reports estimate that 18.1% of all of the alcohol sold in New Jersey is consumed by underage drinkers, placing New Jersey in the 17th slot among the highest underage alcohol consumption states in the U.S. Considering all of the aforementioned data, it is not surprising that lawmakers and law enforcement officers vigorously pursue and prosecute underage drinking offenders. When faced with these charges, the result can spell long-term negative implications that jeopardize your future.
Monmouth County, New Jersey criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow has dedicated the last 10 years to defending those accused of crimes in shore towns from Red Bank to Manasquan, and Asbury Park to Belmar. As a respected legal authority on juvenile justice, Ms. Breslow has served as a lecturer for other attorneys, educating her peers about the nuances of juvenile law. Her extensive experience as a private defense attorney and public defender has exposed Ms. Breslow to every type of juvenile case, from underage drinking to simple assault and possession of marijuana. In addition to her mastery in the court room, Tara understands the strain that these cases can cause for young people and their parents. As such, she maintains an open dialogue, keeping you informed every step of the way and working tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome. To discuss your case with Tara and find immediate answers, contact her Monmouth County offices for a free initial consultation.Underage Drinking Lawyer in Holmdel NJ
New Jersey law criminalizes both the possession and consumption of alcohol by individuals who are under the legal drinking age of 21. These offenses, often referred to simply as “underage drinking,” are outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. According to this statute, it is unlawful for any person who is under the legal age to purchase alcohol to knowingly possesses or consume any alcoholic beverage. New Jersey prohibits this behavior in “public conveyances, public places, and places of public assembly,” including in schools, on college campuses, in parking lots, at stadiums and event venues, in restaurants and bars, on beaches and boardwalks, and many more.
N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15 also addresses specific underage drinking offenses that occur in motor vehicles. Notably, an underage possession of alcohol violation can occur in a motor vehicle even if the alcohol has never been opened. In these cases, the court will impose a period of driver’s license suspension in addition to the other penalties associated with the sentence. If you currently have a driver’s license, your driving privileges will be suspended for a period of 6 months. If you have yet to receive your license because you are under the age of 17, the period of restricted driving privileges will act as a postponement, requiring you to wait an additional 6 months after you turn 17 to receive your New Jersey driver’s license.
In addition to the offenses above, it is also a crime in New Jersey for underage individuals to purchase alcohol, to possess or use a fake ID, to misrepresent their age in order to buy alcohol, or to have a person who is 21 or older purchase alcohol on their behalf. Individuals who purchase or otherwise furnish alcohol to minors can also be criminally charged.Penalties for Underage Drinking in New Jersey
The penalties for underage drinking in New Jersey can be severe and far-reaching. Underage possession or consumption of alcohol is classified as a disorderly persons offense, which is punishable by a sentence to serve up to 6 months in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a charge on your criminal record. As stated previously, underage drinking offenses committed in motor vehicles also entail a 6-month period of driver’s license suspension or postponement. For a young person who is just beginning their journey, a charge on your criminal record can serve as a serious hindrance as you pursue future employment and educational opportunities. Avoiding a charge that will appear on a criminal background check is crucial to achieving your greatest potential.Contact a Manasquan NJ Underage Drinking Lawyer for Your Best Defense
If you or someone you love has been charged with an underage alcohol-related offense, contact the Law Offices of Tara Breslow for immediate assistance. In a cost-free consultation, Ms. Breslow will listen, answer your questions, outline your options, and ensure that you are in the best position to move forward.