Underage Drinking Laws in New Jersey
Underage drinking is taken very seriously in New Jersey, and the underage purchase of alcohol is no different. N.J.S.A. 33:1-81 deals with the underage purchase of alcohol in New Jersey. This is the offense that you will be charged with when you are caught, underage, in liquor stores attempting to buy alcohol.Police will go undercover in liquor stores and wait for minors to take their chance. The interesting thing about this statute is the minor does not need to actually purchase the alcohol to be charged. As you can see in section “a” the unlawful activity is entering a liquor store for the purpose of purchasing alcohol. This means that if you pick up a bottle of alcohol, start to walk to the cashier, but chicken out and put it back, you may still be charged with this offense.
What if you are buying alcohol for a minor?
If you are buying alcohol for a minor, you will likely be charged the same as if you yourself had attempted to buy alcohol underage. But remember, barring the police seeing you walk out of a liquor store and hand a case of beer to a minor, proving your purpose (to give alcohol to someone underage) will not be a walk in the park for the prosecution.
What are the penalties?
Underage purchase of alcohol in New Jersey is a disorderly persons offense. If you are convicted of this offense, you may face fines up to $500. Moreover, the judge has the power to sentence you to 6 months in jail, although that is not likely. Perhaps the most troublesome penalty you will face for underage alcohol purchase is a 6 month driver's license suspension. Losing your license for 6 months is absolutely devastating and terribly disruptive to most people's lifestyle. It is required by the statute, so do not think the judge will just let you off easy.
What to do if charged?
If you are charged with underage purchase of alcohol in New Jersey, do not hesitate to contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C.. Our attorneys know many of the prosecutors and judges in the different municipalities throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County, New Jersey. We will do everything in our power to defend you against any pending charge, as the penalties you could be facing can be very steep.
The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are experienced in gaining expungements for their clients. If you have a criminal record in New Jersey and are looking for a new job it might be better to speak to one of our attorneys first. We will help you determine whether or not you qualify for an expungement. Call 732-800-2980 to speak with one of our attorneys.