Providing Alcohol to Minors in NJ NJSA 2C:33-17
Charges for providing alcohol to minors sometimes arise when parents think they are doing the best thing for their teenagers by allowing them to have a house party at home with other minors, where at least they are supervised and not driving. Other times young adults who are of legal age to buy alcohol in New Jersey will provide it to their friends who are technically under age. In still other cases, a well-meaning adult will think they’re doing a college student or minor a favor buying them alcohol at a nearby bar or liquor store. Unfortunately, under New Jersey law, none of these reasons are valid excuses or worth the consequences for providing a minor with alcohol, which is a disorderly persons offense under NJSA 2C:33-17. The criminal defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver have extensive experience representing clients charged with providing alcohol to minors, underage drinking, fake IDs, and driving under the influence in New Jersey. With a local office in Jersey City, we appear in courts in Hoboken, Jersey City, Bayonne, North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, and throughout Hudson County on a weekly basis. Contact us at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who can help.
2C:33-17 – Availability of alcoholic beverages to underaged, offenses
In New Jersey, it is illegal to purposefully or knowingly give a minor alcohol or make alcohol available to a minor. A minor is defined as anyone who is under 21 years old. Even if you allow another person to serve alcohol or make alcohol available to minors on your property, you can be charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-17. The law also prohibits encouraging an underage person to consume alcohol or offering it to them with the knowledge that they cannot yet legally drink alcohol.
Providing alcohol to a minor is a disorderly persons offense. This means that your case will be heard in the municipal court in the town or city where you were arrested and you will not have a right to a jury trial. In other words, the presiding judge in municipal court will determine if you committed the offense of providing alcohol to a minor beyond a reasonable doubt.
Punishments for Providing Alcohol to a Minor in New Jersey
As a disorderly persons offense, if you are convicted of providing alcohol to a minor, you will face potential penalties of up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. After you are convicted, you will have to wait 5 years before you are eligible to apply for an expungement.
Are there any situations where it is okay to give alcohol to a minor?
There are a few situations where alcohol can be provided to a minor legally. During a religious ceremony, minors are allowed to consume alcohol and you will not be charged with an offense for providing alcohol to a minor in that context. As a parent or guardian or immediate family relative, you can provide alcohol to a minor on your property and in your presence. You can also provide alcohol to another person’s child on your property with the parent or guardian’s permission and in their presence. Lastly, a minor can possess, but not consume, alcohol when serving the alcohol as a student in a culinary arts or hotel management program or in the course of their employment at an establishment licensed to serve alcohol.
Jersey City NJ Providing Alcohol Criminal Lawyer
In New Jersey, a lapse in judgment can create a criminal background if you provide a minor with alcohol. Trying to be nice to an underage person, or even keep them safe from a greater perceived harm by serving them alcohol, is not worth the serious penalties you face if charged with and conviction of this offense. If you have been charged serving a minor alcohol in Hudson County or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers to prepare your best defense. You can reach the Jersey City law office of Proetta & Oliver at (201) 793-8018 for immediate assistance.