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Rutgers University Underage Drinking Lawyers
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15, it is illegal for any Rutgers University student under the legal drinking age of twenty one (21) to knowingly purchase, possess or consume alcohol. In this regard, it should also be noted that it is illegal to possess or consume alcohol in any public place, including public parks, school property, parking lots and apartment building common areas. While this is the law, it is commonplace for underage students to consume alcohol on campus. If you are one of the unfortunate ones that has been caught, however, you will face a disorderly persons offense, which carries up to six (6) months in prison. You will also have a criminal record if you a convicted of this offense. For this reason, it is important that you take a 2C:33-15 charge serious and give the attorneys at our firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, a call for legal assist. We are able to avoid a 2C:33-15 conviction in most cases. We can be reached 24/7 by contacting our New Brunswick Office at 732-246-7126.
Elements of the Offense
For the State to convict someone of underage possession or consumption of alcohol, they must establish that the defendant:
- Was under the legal age to purchase alcohol; and
- Knowing possessed or consumed an alcoholic beverage in a public place.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:2-2, a person acts “knowingly” when they aware that their conduct is of a particular nature, or that such circumstances exist, or that they are aware of a high probability of their existence. Essentially someone acts “knowingly” regarding alcohol possession or consumption when they are practically certain that what they possessed or consumed was alcohol. If this offense occurs in a vehicle, a defendant will be subject to additional charges and additional penalties, including license suspension. The issue also has the possibility of escalating into a New Brunswick DWI charge.
Penalties You Face in New Brunswick Municipal Court or Piscataway Municipal Court
As mentioned above, underage possession or consumption of alcohol is a disorderly persons offense. While a disorderly persons offense is non-indictable (i.e. not a felony), a conviction nevertheless results in a record. The penalties that are imposed can also be severe. If convicted, a defendant will face up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000 but no less than $500. As a disorderly persons offense, there is a presumption of non-incarceration, though this presumption could be overcome by the State. In addition, the court may require that the defendant participate in alcohol education and treatment programs for up to six (6) months.
Rutgers University explicitly prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol on Rutgers property or at a Rutgers event/activity. If convicted of underage alcohol possession or sale of alcohol to minors, Rutgers may seek suspension or even dismissal, depending on the circumstances of the incident. Rutgers may also require mandatory alcohol assessment, counseling, and less severe sanctions such as probation. However, if you self-report alcohol abuse or violations for substance abuse help, then the school will likely not report you or pursue university sanctions. Rutgers also has right to withdraw federal financial aid to students convicted under a federal or state law of possession or sale of drugs (which includes alcohol and tobacco). This may act as a constructive dismissal from Rutgers for many students who can only afford their college education through financial aid. For these reasons, if you have been charged with Possession or Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor, it is in your best interest to seek out a competent and experienced attorney to protect not only your rights but also your education.
Rutgers Underage Alcohol Lawyers With Offices In Piscataway & New Brunswick
Too often, we receive calls from individuals or parents facing the consequences of a criminal record that resulted because a child simply walked into court without representation and entered a guilty plea. Unfortunately, this course of action results in a record that can effect admission into graduate school, an internship, or in obtaining a professional license. For this reason, you should give yourself the absolute best chance of avoiding a conviction in the first place, especially when you know that the attorneys at our firm are successful in avoiding a 2C:33-15 conviction in most cases. A lawyer is ready to help you now at 732-246-7126.