High Chance of Not Being Lucky for Underage Drinking
Last year on St. Patrick’s Day, Sean and his friends decided it was a good day to take the Path into the city and enjoy the parade. The three were home for a few days on Army leave. At nineteen, Sean looked older and managed to pick up a six pack at a local liquor store. The fact that the three military men were underage drinking did not seem an issue. After all, they felt lucky. It was a day they will not forget.
Underage Drinking is Still a Crime
There’s a current push among at least one legislator to reduce the age of legalized purchase and consumption of alcohol. According to a news articles, a New Jersey assemblyman realizes the inconsistencies faced by young soldiers like Sean and his colleagues. After all, they are old enough to command sophisticated war weapons. Why can’t they be trusted to throw down a couple of beers?
We mentioned that Sean was not feeling the luck of the Irish when he returned from the parade. The police were waiting for him when he returned from New York City to pick up his car. Within moments of getting behind the wheel, Sean was stopped and asked for his credentials. Even though he only had one beer, his breath gave off the distinct whiff of alcohol. He found himself suddenly in police custody. Sean was not drunk, but he was unexpectedly confronted with legal consequences. Why?
Here’s the current law. If you are under age 21 and decide to drive after consuming alcohol, you face charges under NJSA 34:50 (14). The State of New Jersey does a good job of summarizing the law in this fact sheet. As you may know, it is an accepted premise that you are considered to be under the influence if your blood alcohol reading (BAC) is in excess of .08%. In the case of those under 21, the stakes change. The penalties start if the BAC reading registers over .01%. One could guess that one beer would do the trick.
To add insult to injury, there’s also the issue with purchasing alcohol if you’re underage. Possession and consumption of alcohol is a crime for those who haven’t hit their twenty-first birthday. Penalties are even more severe for those under age eighteen. It does not matter if the accused was behind the wheel. They can still count on losing their license, even if they haven’t yet secured one.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we realize that being accused of a wrongdoing can be frustrating. We have years of experience handling similar situations and would be more than happy to review your situation at no charge. Contact us to set up an appointment.