Now that it's summer, many high school and college students will be partying with their friends. However, what most don't realize is that there are serious legal consequences for getting caught drinking before turning 21. In New Jersey, any person under the legal age who possesses or consumes alcohol in school, a public place, or a motor vehicle, can be charged with a disorderly person's offense.
If convicted, the court must impose a $500 fine minimum. It may also sentence the individual to a period of probation, up to 6 months in jail, and/or require participation in an alcohol education or treatment program for a period of up to 6 months.
In addition to the other possible penalties, if the offense occurs in a motor vehicle, the judge must impose a 6-month license suspension. If the offender has not yet received his or her license, getting the license may be postponed.
It is important to consult with an attorney if you have been charged with underage drinking. A conviction for this offense will appear on your criminal history, which can be viewed by schools and employers for years to come.