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Fake ID and Underage Drinking Charges in New Jersey
Using a phony ID to obtain and drink alcohol while underage in New Jersey is a crime. If you are convicted, you will likely be fined and could potentially be put in jail. You will also lose your driver’s license for at least 6 months.
Worse, when you apply for a job, a college loan or scholarship, your conviction will show up on your record as a sign of dishonesty and a willingness to break the rules.
If you’ve been charged with using a fake ID and/or underage drinking in New Jersey, you need a defense attorney experienced in N.J. municipal and county courts to keep a bad decision off of your record. A defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help you.
- We are former New Jersey prosecutors and public defenders.
- We have 30 years of combined experience with cases in courtrooms across the state.
- Our defense lawyers have the local contacts necessary to negotiate a downgrade of these criminal charges to a municipal offense so that you can avoid a criminal conviction. A violation of a municipal ordinance results in a fine, but does not constitute a criminal offense in New Jersey.
- Our firm has nine offices across New Jersey.
Act now for us to minimize the risk you face for a criminal charge of underage drinking or possession of alcohol, and/or possessing a false ID. Call or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey defense attorneys today.
What Happens if You Get Caught with a Fake ID in New Jersey?
Using a fake ID, such as a phony driver’s license, to buy alcohol or cigarettes, or to get into a bar, is falsification of a government document and could be charged as a crime of the fourth degree in New Jersey. A person convicted of a crime of the fourth degree may face up to 18 months in prison and be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
However, with an experienced New Jersey defense attorney by your side, using a phony ID is more likely to be charged as a disorderly persons offense — if you can show you used the fake ID only to obtain alcohol, tobacco or another product not legally sold to someone under the age of 21 or 18. A disorderly persons offense could result in a fine of up to $1,000.
Regardless of whether using a fake ID is tried as a fourth-degree offense or a disorderly persons charge, a conviction will result in loss of New Jersey driving privileges. The judge will have some discretion for suspending your driver’s license, but must do it for at least 6 months and no more than 2 years. If you are not yet 17 years old, the driver’s license suspension begins on your 17th birthday.
If you are represented by an attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, you have a strong chance of seeing a fake-ID charge against you dropped or reduced from a State of New Jersey criminal offense to a violation of a local municipal ordinance.
If you (or your underage child) have been charged with using a fake ID to buy alcohol or tobacco or to enter a bar in New Jersey, talk to a lawyer at one of the nine Jersey locations of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. We may be able to help you avoid losing money and privileges in court, and opportunities in the future.
What Is the Penalty for Drinking Under the Age of 21?
Typically, when we assist clients with false ID charges, they have also been charged with underage possession of alcohol and/or underage drinking.
The legal age for drinking alcohol in New Jersey is 21 years old, just as in every U.S. state and Washington, D.C. In New Jersey, violating the underage drinking laws in public is a disorderly persons offense, which can be punished with a fine of at least $500.
If an underage person is caught drinking in a car or any other motor vehicle, they can lose their driver’s license for 6 months. If they are not yet 17 years old, the 6-month suspension of driving privileges would begin on their 17th birthday.
A defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help with a charge of possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by a person under legal age in New Jersey. It is a mistake to shrug off such a charge and let a conviction mar your record.
Defenses for Fake ID and Underage Drinking Charges in New Jersey
There are multiple reasons charges for underage alcohol possession or possession of a fake ID may be reduced to a municipal ordinance violation, which does not result in a criminal record, or dismissed altogether. The prosecution must prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt, which we can make sure is not an easy task.
Issues we can raise as we defend you from underage alcohol possession and/or fake ID charges may include but are not limited to:
- Proof of possession. Can the prosecutor prove the alcohol or phony ID was legally in your possession?
- Mistaken identity. Was there confusion at the time of arrest, such as at a party or a crowded bar or street, which led to you being arrested simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time?
- Bias. Did racial, ethnic, socio-economic, age, gender, sexual orientation, or other bias (profiling) lead to your arrest?
- Probable cause. Did police have a legitimate reason to stop you or your vehicle?
- Was the search and seizure that led to alcohol or fake ID charges legal?
- Did police properly advise you of your Miranda rights against self-incrimination?
It is not unusual for our attorneys to get underage drinking and phony ID charges reduced to a violation of a municipal ordinance, if not dropped altogether. If you are convicted of a municipal offense, it can be removed (expunged) from your record in 2 years, as opposed to 5 years for a criminal offense.
Negotiating such a plea bargain with the prosecutor depends on:
- Your prior record, if any
- Circumstances of the charge, including whether you were cooperative with law enforcement
- Strength of evidence prosecutors have against you
Our lawyers are able to get charges reduced and dropped for clients because of the relationships we have built over decades of working with local prosecutors across the state. When we tell prosecutors about a client who recognizes and regrets his or her mistake, they trust us.
Regardless of the charges against you, an arrest is not a verdict of guilt. Never accept punishment for a criminal offense without the advice of a lawyer. In New Jersey, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can protect your rights and, if you have made a mistake, see to it that you face the least possible penalty for an infraction.
Meet With Our Underage Alcohol / Fake ID Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with underage possession of alcohol and/or use of a fake ID to obtain alcohol or tobacco anywhere in New Jersey, an attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will work diligently to seek the best available outcome for you. There are opportunities our dedicated attorneys can pursue to avoid the burden of a fine, loss of driving privileges, and having a conviction on your record.
Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at any of our nine New Jersey locations as soon as possible. An initial legal consultation is always free.