Having a couple of beers after a football game or some glasses of wine with your friends is all part of most student’s college experience. However, in the event that you are caught having alcohol when you are under the age of 21, Trenton police will handle your drinking as a serious offense. While underage drinking may seem like a relatively minor conviction, it can be the deciding factor in the mind of a college-admission board or potential employer. An experienced attorney can help your child avoid the consequences of this conviction. At The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. we understand the importance of keeping this charge off of your child’s record, and we will help your child achieve a favorable legal outcome.
Underage Drinking is commonplace, and often seen as a rite of passage among our youth. Maybe you even allow your child to drink at home with their friends, reasoning that they are going to do it anyway, so they may as well be safe at home. Or perhaps your child is away at college, and you both think little of it, since underage drinking is the accepted standard rather than the exception among college youth. Whether your thought process is “right or wrong” is not the issue – the illegality of Underage Drinking is clear.
In New Jersey, underage drinking is a problem that costs residents a total of $1.5 billion per year! This financial cost, coupled with general social concerns for youth, has led to increasing concern over underage drinking in recent years. Both underage drinking offenders themselves and the adults in certain situations may be charged with related offenses. Enabling underage drinking; providing alcohol to minors specifically; purchasing alcohol when under 21; and making, selling, or owning a fake ID are but a few underage drinking-related offenses.
This is an issue that law enforcement takes very seriously, and if you are charged with any underage drinking related offense you will need an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to fight fines and loss of license penalties.
Underage Drinking is Illegal
In New Jersey, Title 2C: 33-15 under the Code of Criminal Justice makes many underage alcohol related offenses illegal. Offenses within the Code and other areas of law related to underage drinking include:
- Purchasing or attempted purchasing of alcohol if under 21
- Possessing alcohol if under 21
- Consuming alcohol if under 21
- Knowingly transporting alcohol if under 21
- Providing alcohol to those under 21
- Creating, selling, or buying a fake ID
- Using a fake ID to buy alcohol
Fines, license suspension and even jail time are all potential penalties for those found guilty of any of these offenses. Underage drinkers will be charged with a disorderly persons’ offense, and fined a minimum of $500. However, it’s possible to face penalties of up to $1000, 6 months in jail, and expose parents to liability in turn.
Remember, any amount of alcohol in an underage person’s system is a per se violation, meaning it is not necessary to prove that you intended to drink.
New Jersey has a “No Tolerance” policy for drinking under the age of 21. Any detectable amount of alcohol in the system of a minor who is driving, meaning a BAC of .01 or higher, will result in a DWI.
This is a very serious offense which can result in significant fines, insurance premium increases, suspension of license, possible jail time, and a criminal record. Penalties will vary based on both BAC and number of offenses.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
You need to do everything you can to protect this young person. Everyone makes mistakes, especially in adolescence, but underage drinking offenses can have a long term impact, and as such need to be contested aggressively by an experienced defense attorney. The facts are important in these cases, and a knowledgeable attorney will work hard to discredit any damaging evidence, and poke holes in the State’s case wherever possible.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.