News reports covering underage drinking in New Jersey frequently begin with a description of information provided by a neighbor in a call to police. For instance, the stories often discuss a law enforcement response to a call describing some sort of disturbance or loud party that attracts attention. A college party may also attract the attention of law enforcement from time to time.
Occasionally, law enforcement will run across a person under the age of 21 in a public place, and the officer alleges that the young person is showing signs of impairment while walking down the street--attracting police attention. The allegations can vary greatly.
A recent story out of Readington Township, New Jersey takes a slightly different tack in what led to the arrest of three teens on suspicion of underage drinking and other offenses. Two officers report seeing a vehicle parked on Budd Road with its lights off the evening of November 2.
Police say that the car-parked at about 9:20 p.m. without any lights-was suspicious, according to a report in the Hunterdon County Democrat. The officers apparently approached to investigate the allegedly mysteriously parked car and found three 17-year-old males inside.
Police claim that the teens had been drinking. The officers accuse the three teens of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia, although it is not clear from the media where and how the alleged contraband was found. The person law enforcement accuses of driving the car also is facing charges for underage drinking and driving, and possession of a dangerous controlled substance in a motor vehicle after the encounter with police.
Authorities say that the case has been turned over to a juvenile offense detective. The teens may be facing juvenile charges for the alleged possession of less than 50 grams of pot, possession of drug paraphernalia, and underage alcohol offenses.
The three juveniles were later released to their parents.
Underage drinking, underage DUI or other juvenile offenses can lead to direct and collateral consequences for New Jersey teens. Direct consequences may flow in the juvenile justice system, but a conviction may also have consequences in academic prospects, a job search and maybe even increased insurance costs.
A New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer can look at the individual allegations, evidence and police procedures in the investigation in preparing a defense to the government's allegations.
Source: Hunterdon County Democrat via nj.com, "Readington police say boys in car were drinking, had marijuana," Nov. 6, 2012