Despite all the effort parents put into supervising their children, a common misstep made by those under 21, years old is consuming or possessing alcohol. Underage drinking is mistake that many, possibly even most, teenagers experience at one time or another although it is illegal under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15. What this means is that if you are charged and convicted of possession of alcohol while under legal drinking age, you will have a misdemeanor criminal record. Whether the charge was filed in Bernardsville, Watchung, Hillsborough, Franklin or Montgomery, the consequences of a guilty finding can effect your future. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can almost always avoid a conviction in underage drinking cases. Our Somerset County defense law firm is comprised of experienced criminal attorneys, including former County and Municipal Prosecutors. Contact our Bridgewater Law Office at 908-722-1011 for your free consultation today.
Charged With Underage Possession of Alcohol in Somerset County
The underage alcohol possession and consumption law applies to both juveniles (i.e. those under 18) and adult offenders who have yet to reach legal drinking age of 21. If an individual is under 21 he or she cannot knowingly possess or consume an alcoholic beverage in any school, public conveyance, public place, place of public assembly, or motor vehicle. There are five elements that must be established by the prosecutor in Bridgewater, Warren, Raritan, Bernards or Branchburg in order to convict you. They must prove that you:
- Were under legal age (21) to purchase alcoholic beverages;
- Possessed or consumed an alcoholic beverage;
- Engaged in this conduct at school, a public place, place of public assembly or a motor vehicle;
- Legal authority consume the alcohol was lacking (e.g. parental consent and supervision); and
- Your possession or consumption was knowing.
For purposes of this law, “public” means a place to which the public or a substantial group has access. Among the places included are highways, transport facilities, schools, common areas of apartment houses, places of business or amusement.
Penalties. In addition to having a record for a disorderly persons offense, a conviction carries fines, jail and other penalties. There is a fine of between $500 and $1,000, as well as the potential for imprisonment in the county jail for up to six month. The court may also suspend your driver’s license and/or require that you enroll in an Alcohol Education or Treatment Program. The suspension of your driving privileges is mandatory if you are convicted of possessing or consuming alcohol underage in a motor vehicle.
Hillsborough NJ Underage Alcohol Possession Lawyers
It is important that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you in order to obtain the best possible outcome. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have considerable success obtaining downgrades and even dismissals of underage drinking charges. We are confident that we can secure a similar outcome on your behalf. Call us anytime 24/7 at 908-722-1011 for an immediate consultation.