Alcohol Drunk Effect

Underage Drinking Attorney in Hudson County


Underage drinking charges in New Jersey can arise in many different places under a diverse set of circumstances, including house parties, high school events, college campus dorms, and even bars and restaurants. If you or your child has been charged with possession or consumption of alcohol underage in New Jersey, it is vital to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can combat the charges, as being adjudicated a juvenile delinquent or convicted of underage drinking can negatively impact the college application process, job prospects, and even scholarship eligibility. New Jersey criminal defense attorney William A. Proetta has successfully defended scores of young people charged with underage drinking in Hudson County and throughout New Jersey, including Jersey CityHobokenUnion CityWeehawkenKearny, and Secaucus. His primary concern is protecting his clients’ rights and their futures, often by achieving downgraded charges or dismissals that allow them to maintain a clean criminal record and avoid the serious consequences they face. Mr. Proetta and the defense attorneys at William Proetta Criminal Law are well-equipped to defend your underage alcohol charges, including companion charges such as disorderly conduct and underage DWI. For more information about underage drinking charges and penalties and possible solutions, continue reading and please call our Jersey City office today at (201) 793-8018 to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help. An attorney is available immediately to provide you with a free consultation.


In New Jersey, a person under the age of 21 may not knowingly possess alcohol without legal authority or knowingly consume alcohol in a school, public place, or motor vehicle. Charges for underage possession and consumption of alcohol are codified in Section NJSA 2C:33-15 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. This offense, often referred to simply as “underage drinking” is classified as a disorderly persons offense. If an individual is convicted of possessing or consuming alcohol underage in New Jersey, they may face fines of at least $500 and up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. In addition, if the offense is committed in a motor vehicle, then the offender’s driving privileges will be suspended or postponed for a period of 6 months. This means that if you are 17 years old and already have your driver’s license, your license will be immediately suspended for 6 months. On the other hand, if you are under the age of 17 at the time of the offense, your ability to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license will be delayed for 6 months after your 17th birthday.

Notably, there are a few exceptions whereby an individual under the age of 21 can consume alcohol without violating New Jersey law. According to the statute, New Jersey permits the consumption of alcohol by underage persons in certain circumstances, including if an underage person consumes alcohol with the permission of, in the presence of, and on the property of an adult in their immediate family; in connection with a religious observance or ceremony; or if an underage person possesses but does not consume alcohol in connection with their employment at an establishment that has a license to serve alcohol.


Underage drinking charges in New Jersey are serious and if you or a loved one have been charged with this offense, it is important to enlist an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and present a strong defense against this charge. The attorneys at our firm have been defending young people charged with underage possession and consumption of alcohol in Hudson County and across New Jersey for years. Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to argue that one of the exceptions to the law against underage drinking apply to your conduct, or to successfully have your charges downgraded from a criminal offense to a non-criminal municipal ordinance that can be resolved with payment of a fine and will not leave you with a criminal record. Contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018 for immediate assistance and a lawyer will provide you with a free consultation.