In New Jersey, it is illegal for a person under 21 to buy, possess or consume alcohol in a public place or while operating a vehicle on the road. If caught by the police, the individual can be charged with a legal offense. If the person is under 18, they will not be charged with a misdemeanor but will face juvenile delinquency proceedings. However, people over 18 will face charges as an adult. 

A child usually does not think of underage drinking as that much of a big deal. This especially happens when they are surrounded by peers who also participate in underage drinking. However, regardless of the many people drinking while being underaged, it is not safe to do so, especially not while driving a vehicle. If you have been charged with underage drinking, consult with criminal defense attorneys at the Lento Law Firm

What is the underage drinking law in New Jersey?

It is clearly stated by the New Jersey law that anyone under the age of 21 is not legally allowed to purchase, possess or consume alcoholic drinks. If your child is caught drinking and they are not 21, they would not face charges of a misdemeanor but a ‘disorderly person’s offense.’

Remember that your child does not necessarily need to drink the alcoholic beverage to be charged. The mere possession or purchase of the beverage is enough to initiate a court hearing. Moreover, your child may even face charges if they attend a party or gathering where alcoholic drinks are served, regardless of whether they consumed anything. 

If your child is under 18, they will not face court proceedings, but they will face charges as a juvenile. This significantly affects their punishments as there is a difference between being charged as an adult and a juvenile. 

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol under the age of 21

The act of drinking an alcoholic beverage under the age of 21 is a legal offense in itself. Things can become even more complicated when you add DUI charges. Penalties for DUI charges can be harsh and lead to substantial fines, imprisonment, suspension of your license, insurance surcharges, and required attendance at alcohol educational programs. 

There is a zero-tolerance policy for people under 21 years of age. Here are some penalties

A BAC of 0.01% to 0.079% results in a river’s license suspension for 30 to 90 days. 

A BAC above 0.04% results in charges of Driving While Intoxicated.