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Sale to a Person Under the Legal Age

Our Former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General has handled hundreds of ABC cases. Let us put our experience to work for you.

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N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a) Sale to a Person Under the Legal Age

One of the most common charges filed by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is that of service to a Person Under the Legal Age (Commonly referred to as a “PULA”). These charges will be filed regardless of whether or not the underage person provided a fake ID upon purchase. While there is a defense to this charge under N.J.S.A. 33:1-77, the standard is incredibly high and very fact-specific. Moreover, with programs like “Cops in Shops”, local law enforcement in towns like Asbury Park, Belmar, Brick Township, Point Pleasant, Atlantic City, Ship Bottom, Galloway and Wildwood are receiving grants from the Division of Highway Traffic and Safety to crackdown on the purchase of alcohol by underage persons. The “Cops in Shops” program has found great success in uncovering violations under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15, N.J.S.A. 33:1-81 and N.J.A.C. 13;2-23.1(a). If you have been charged criminally or administratively, it is imperative that you speak with an ABC attorney.

As a former Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, I recognize that Fake IDs are getting more and more difficult to detect. Using ID Scanners alone is not enough. As a bar owner or liquor store owner, you must be vigilant in detecting underage persons. Require two forms of identification or request they sign a certification of age, if need be. Call 732.858.5857 today and find out how we can help you with your criminal or administrative charges stemming from the sale of alcohol to a person under the legal age.

N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1 Law

In New Jersey, there is a prohibition against serving persons under the legal age (21). Specifically, N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a) states that:

“No licensee shall sell, serve, or deliver or allow, permit or suffer the sale, service delivery of any alcoholic beverage, directly or indirectly, to any person under the legal age to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages, or allow, permit or suffer the consumption of any alcoholic beverage by any such person in or upon the licensed premises.”

This law applies to bars, restaurants, liquor stores and even craft breweries and wineries that permit tastings on-site.

Penalties for Sale to a Person Under the Legal Age

Depending on whether you were charged criminally, administratively by the Division of ABC or both, your charges will vary. Criminally, you will be facing a disorderly persons offense that carries possible jail time, fines and a criminal record. Administratively, the Division of ABC or your municipal ABC Board will be seeking to suspend your liquor license and force you to close down your business. The length of your suspension will depend upon the number of prior offenses attached to your license. The presumptive penalties for an ABC violation are as follows:

  • First Offense for N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a) carries a presumptive penalty of a 15-day suspension of your license.
  • Second Offense for N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a) carries a presumptive penalty of a 30-day suspension of your license.
  • Third Offense for N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a) carries a presumptive penalty of a 45-day suspension of your license.
  • Fourth Offense for N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a) carries a presumptive penalty of a REVOCATION of your license.

Call 732.858.5857 today and speak with an experienced liquor law attorney about how we can minimize your exposure or outright avoid a suspension of you license.

N.J.S.A. 33:1-77 Sale to Underage Persons Defense

There is a defense under New Jersey law to a charge for Sale to a Person Under the Legal Age. Under N.J.S.A. 33:1-77, you will be afforded an affirmative defense if you can satisfy the following elements:

That the purchaser falsely represented in writing, or by producing a driver’s license bearing a photograph of the licensee, or by producing a photographic identification card issued pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1980, c. 47 (C.39:3-29.3), or a similar card issued pursuant to the laws of this State, another state or the federal government that he or she was of legal age to make the purchase;

  1. That the appearance of the purchaser was such that an ordinary prudent person would believe him or her to be of legal age to make the purchase;
  2. That the sale was made in good faith relying upon such written representation, or production of a driver’s license bearing a photograph of the licensee, or production of a photographic identification card issued pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1980, c. 47 (C.39:3-29.3), or a similar card issued pursuant to the laws of this State, another state or the federal government and appearance and in the reasonable belief that the purchaser was actually of legal age to make the purchase.

If you falsely rely upon a Fake ID, you will not be afforded a defense under this statute.

NJ ABC Lawyers

If you are a New Jersey Liquor License holder and are being charged with N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1(a), a New Jersey Administrative Code violation, a New Jersey Title 33 offense, or any other Alcoholic Beverage Control mandate, contact the experienced New Jersey ABC law law attorneys of Proetta & Oliver. As a former Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, William C. Fay, IV, Esq., is well equipped to handle New Jersey ABC related charges and investigations. Call 732.858.5857 today for a consultation.

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