Underage Possession & Consumptions of Alcohol Charges

Maybe your son or daughter was at an after school party or just having fun with some friends, but if they were arrested for underage drinking or possession of alcohol they could face serious repercussions that could drastically affect their future. If your child has been charged with underage possession, and or consumption of alcohol and was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall are available for your family’s assistance. Our criminal defense law firm is comprised of experienced criminal attorneys, including a former New Jersey prosecutor, who are prepared to defend your son or daughter throughout all phases of the juvenile complaint including the delinquency adjudication and resulting manner of disposition. We handle juvenile alcoholic possession and consumption charges statewide, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Ocean County, Essex County, Somerset County, and Hudson County.

NJ Underage Possession, Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages

The NJ underage possession and consumption of alcohol statute, S 2C:33-15, applies to all juveniles as well as all adult offenders under the age of 21. The statute provides, in pertinent part, that any person under the age of 21, who purchases or possesses alcohol, or consumes alcohol in any school, public place, or in a motor vehicle, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense, and will be fined between $ 500 and $1,000. However, if the underage person is caught in a motor vehicle then they will also lose their license for 6 months which begins immediately upon conviction or if the person is too young to drive then their driving privileges will be postponed for 6 months when they turn 17 years old. In addition to the general penalty prescribed for a disorderly persons offense (up to 180 days in jail and $1000 fine), the court may require any person who is convicted of underage possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages to participate in an alcohol education or treatment program for up to 6 months.

Underage Possession and Consumption As Applied to Juveniles

Offenders under 21 but above 18 years old face criminal penalties as an adult. However juveniles under the age of 18 will have to go through juvenile delinquency proceedings and face a totally different set of punishments. When a juvenile is charged with delinquency the court holds a hearing to determine if delinquency exists. If a juvenile is found delinquent, meaning they would be found guilty of the crime of simple assault if they were an adult, then the court may impose whatever sentence they deem appropriate. Underage possession and consumption of alcohol is typically considered a disorderly persons offense. Disorderly persons offenses usually bring no time of incarceration for first time juvenile offenders N.J.S. 2A:4A-44(b)(1). However, if the juvenile is adjudged delinquent, there are still numerous penalties that the court may order, including placing the juvenile in a suitable residential or nonresidential program for the treatment of alcohol, along with a host of other non-custodial dispositions, which they chose from the broad spectrum of choices specified in N.J.S. 2A:4A-43(b)(14). Furthermore, if the juvenile was in a motor vehicle at the time of incident, they will lose their drivers license for a mandatory 6 months, or if under 17, for the 6 months following their 17th birthday. For this reason, it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to aid your child in obtaining the best possible outcome. Our lawyers are often successful in obtaining the least severe non-custodial sentences available or having the charges dropped altogether.

If your son or daughter has been charged or arrested for underage possession and or consumption of alcohol, the criminal attorneys at our law firm can address your concerns and insure that your child is properly defended. Our defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall are experienced in handling juvenile cases and are available to appear in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Hudson County and Bergen County. Our lawyers have a long history of success at acquiring satisfactory dispositions or having the offense dropped altogether. By retaining an experienced attorney to defend you and your family, you can make sure your child has an opportunity for a second chance. A lawyer is available immediately to assist your child and the consultation is without charge. Please do not hesitate to contact our law firm so you and your family can put this matter be behind you as soon as possible.