Sale to an Undercover Officer
NJ Attorneys Liquor License Violations
Local police departments are using “Cops in Shops” grants to investigate and prosecute underage individuals who purchase alcohol as well as store clerks who sell to these persons under the legal age. Certain police departments have even gone so far as to have underage officers attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages. During my tenure as a Deputy Attorney General, multiple cases came across my desk involving South Jersey police departments who staged underage undercover officers in liquor stores to see if the store clerk would sell to the officer. If such a sale was made, the officers would arrest the store clerk and file charges with the local municipal court. Additionally, these officers would forward along the report to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for further administrative prosecution. These charges would typically result in a Notice of Charges for a 15-day suspension of the licensee’s liquor license.
If you received a Notice of Charges against your liquor license or you have a store clerk who was charged with Sale to a Person Under the Legal Age, contact the ABC Liquor Law Attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay. Firm Partner and Former NJ Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, William C. Fay, IV, spent his career prosecuting and regulating New Jersey’s Alcoholic Beverage Industry. His experienced with the Division of ABC is held by few other practicing New Jersey Attorneys. To speak with Mr. Fay about your pending criminal or civil charges, please contact our office today at (732) 858-5857.
Charges for Sale to a Person Under the Legal Age
New Jersey laws allow for charges to be filed both criminally (as a disorderly persons offense under N.J.S.A. 33:1-77) and administratively (under N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.1). In either scenario, bar owners are subject to municipal prosecution or administrative charges from the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Are There Any Defenses to Selling Alcohol to an Undercover Officer in NJ?
Under New Jersey Attorney General Directive for “Cooperating Underage Witnesses”, police departments must follow strict guidelines when they conduct these investigations. Failure to comply with these requirements could be grounds for a dismissal of your charges. Specifically, officers must comply with the following requirements:
- Cooperating Underage Witness must be at least 18 y/o but no older than 20 y/o
- Cooperating Underage Witness must appear, by reasonable standards, to be under 20 years of age
- Male Cooperating Underage Witness may not have visible facial hair (beard or mustache)
- Cooperating Underage Witness must not make any misrepresentations about his/her age, if asked.
- Cooperating Underage Witness shall not otherwise influence or persuade the licensee’s employee to make the sale.
Depending upon the conduct of the undercover officer or undercover witness, we may be able to present enough evidence to move for an outright dismissal of your charges.
New Jersey ABC Lawyers
If you or your licensed business were subject to police investigation, either locally or by State Investigators, contact our office. Our attorneys have spent their careers dedicated to Alcoholic Beverage Control Law and Criminal Law. Firm Partner, William C. Fay, IV, has prosecuted cases for the State’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, as well as Special Counsel for New Jersey Municipalities. These experiences as a prosecutor have made him uniquely qualified to represent individuals and licensees charged with ABC violations. For an immediate consultation, please contact our office today at (732) 858-5857.