Underage drinking is a significant problem in the United States. Alcohol is considered a drug and for teens across America, it is not only the drug of choice, but the biggest drug problem. When teens drink alcohol, they tend to binge drink, which puts them at a greater risk for drunk driving accidents and related injuries or fatalities.
New Jersey Alcohol Consumption Laws
In New Jersey, the legal drinking age is 21, which means that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol unless it is for religious, medical, or educational purposes. Underage drinking in a public place or public assembly is a criminal offense punishable with a $500 fine.
Drivers under the age of 21 who are found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01 percent or higher can be cited for driving under the influence (DUI). If convicted, an underage driver can have their driving privileges revoked or postponed up to three months and must perform 15 to 30 days of community service, as well as complete an alcohol and traffic safety education course.
Social Drinking and Liability
Some families believe that since underage drinking is going on at parties, it would be safer for teens and their friends to drink at home. New Jersey has social host liability laws, which hold adults liable for injuries and deaths that happen if they supplied or served alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. They are also liable for the resulting medical bills and any property damage that occurs, as well as emotional pain and suffering related to the incident. The penalty for this criminal offense is a fine up to $1000 and/or up to six months imprisonment. Parents may also be held liable for any underage drinking that happens on their property, even when they are not home.
Underage Drinking Convictions
Teen alcohol consumption can lead to problems in school, experimenting with other drugs, and is associated with an increased risk for alcohol dependency later in life. New Jersey’s zero tolerance alcohol laws were created to deter teens from taking these risks and the penalties can be serious. A conviction for underage drinking can have grave consequences for a teen’s future; it goes on a person’s permanent criminal record and shows up on criminal background checks run by employers and educational institutions.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Agre & St. John Fight for Those Convicted of Underage Drinking
If you have been charged with a crime, the South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Agre & St. John can help. We have extensive experience representing juveniles and adults in a wide range of legal matters and will aggressively defend your rights and protect your reputation. Call us today at 856-428-7797 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Salem County, Burlington County, and Gloucester County.