Underage Alcohol Possession or Consumption

Underage Drinking Charge in Monmouth County

A common municipal court and juvenile offense is possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by a minor. This charge is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2c:33-15 and provides for various penalties in the event of conviction. Another result of being found guilty is a criminal record that cannot be expunged for a minimum of five (5) years. If you were charged in West Long Branch, Ocean Township, Marlboro, Wall, Middletown, Red Bank or another municipality in Monmouth County with underage drinking, it is certainly in your best interests to give us a call.

Our team of criminal attorneys include former municipal prosecutors who know how to secure downgrades and dismissals in underage alcohol possession cases. In fact, the norm for our firm is to avoid any criminal conviction. Whether you were arrested at PNC Bank Arts Center, drinking on the beach in Manasquan, or while walking around downtown Red Bank, a conviction for consuming alcohol when you are under twenty-one (21) years old can result in significant consequences including a record that can effect your ability to obtain employment in the future. Do not make the mistake of taking this offense lightly only to be left with an outcome that can follow you around for years, especially in view of the fact that our lawyers are effective in averting a finding of guilty in almost all cases. So call us 24/7 for a free consultation at 732-450-8300 or 732-462-1197.

Possession Or Consumption Of An Alcoholic Beverage By A Person Under Legal Age

New Jersey law makes it a disorderly persons offense for a person under legal drinking age to purchase or knowingly possesses or consume an alcoholic beverage in a public place. In order to prove this offense, the prosecutor must establish that you:

  1. Were under legal age to consume or purchase alcoholic beverages;
  2. Possessed or consumed an alcoholic beverage;
  3. In a public place (e.g. school, place of public assembly, motor vehicle, etc.);
  4. Lacked legal authority to possess the alcohol; and
  5. The possession or consumption was done knowingly.

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 9:17B-1(b), legal drinking age is twenty-one. In addition, “public place” is defined as any location which is open to the public including highways, transport facilities, schools, common areas of apartment houses, places of business or amusements.

As previously stated, underage drinking is a a disorderly persons offense. The penalties at the time of sentencing include a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000, up to six (6) months in the Monmouth County Correctional Institute, and a driver’s license suspension of six (6) months if the offense was committed in a motor vehicle. It is also common, although not mandated, for a Court to order that the underage defendant undergo alcohol education and/or treatment.

Purchasing Alcoholic Beverages While Underage

Under N.J.S.A. 33:1-81, it is a disorderly persons offense for someone to purchase, consume or attempt either while under twenty-one (21) years of age. This law specifically outlines various types of conduct which fall within this offense including entering a bar or other premises to consume or purchase alcohol or misrepresenting age for purposes of purchasing or being served alcoholic beverages. A violation of this provision carries many of the same consequences as those set forth above for underage drinking except that the driver’s license suspension is mandatory under this section. At the time of sentencing, the court must “suspend or postpone the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle for six months.”

Possessing Alcoholic Beverages on School Property

In addition to the penalties previously outlined, a separate offense is set forth under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-16 for situations where alcohol is possessed by an of-age individual on school property. The charge is triggered whenever an adult brings or possesses alcoholic beverages on property which is owned by any school or school board and which is used for school purposes. A violation of this law is also a disorderly persons offense. The penalties are identical as those set forth above with the exception of the driver’s license suspension.

Holmdel NJ Underage Alcohol Lawyers

Every summer, there are literally hundreds of underage alcohol charges issued in Holmdel. The primary reason for all these complaints is the high number of underage individuals attempting to consume alcohol during the concert season at the Arts Center and the concentration of state and local police at the venue. The result is slews of underage offenses and a jam packed Holmdel Municipal Court. Popular Jersey Shore beach towns like Belmar, Manasquan, Long Branch, Bradley Beach, Lake Como, are likewise busy with underage offenses during the summer. Our firm has an extremely high level of experience defending underage cases in all of these municipalities and has even served as prosecutors in Holmdel, Wall Township and other municipalities in the past. For a free initial consultation to learn how we can assist you in avoiding a criminal record and other penalties, call our underage alcohol lawyers at 732-450-8300.

Helpful Underage Drinking Resources: