Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll has submitted a bill to New Jersey’s Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee that, if passed, would lower New Jersey’s drinking age from 21 to 18. Carroll calls the proposed change common sense, reasoning that a person old enough to serve in the military is old enough to have an alcoholic drink. He argues that the state’s limited resources could be better spent dealing with problems more pressing than prosecuting teenagers for underage drinking.
The bill has been met with much controversy. New Jersey’s chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) have already voiced their concerns about the implications of the bill. These groups contend that lowering the drinking age will result in teenagers experimenting with drugs at a younger age.
New Jersey’s drinking age was lowered to 18 in the past, but was raised back to 21 in 1980 due to federal pressure placed on the state. Still, opponents of bill argue, the current legislation has been supported by a great deal of scientific and sociological studies indicating that a legal drinking age of 21 reduces economic, social, and other costs.
Underage drinking is a widespread phenomenon in New Jersey. In 2010, a staggering $1.5 billion was spent on underage drinking, a number which averages out to approximately $1,800 per child. The state has numerous laws related to underage drinking and the crime is punishable by fines up to $1000, and in some cases, license suspension or even jail time. An underage drinking conviction will also appear on a person’s permanent criminal record.
If you or your child has been charged with underage drinking in New Jersey, it is essential that you retain a skilled attorney to defend your rights. Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be your advocate and fight to have any charges against you dropped. Email him or call 1-888-979-7551 for a free consultation today.