Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Badge - Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forums
Badge - New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney
Badge - New Jersey's Best Lawyers For Families 2018
Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers
Badge - AV Preeminent Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Client Champion Gold 2020
Badge - Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
Please click Award & Selection Criteria & Methodology for information regarding the specific criteria used for selection of each of the above awards.

Consequences of Underage Drinking

Some people may think of underage drinking as part of growing up – a rite of passage even for teens navigating the awkward transition from childhood to adulthood. In reality, however, underage drinking is a serious problem that carries severe consequences.

Victor Rotolo successfully argues before the NJ Supreme Court in a case of constitutional import, in which the Court ruled that a DUI conviction cannot be used in any later DUI case for sentencing purposes if, (1) the individual plead or was found guilty, and (2) the individual was not advised of his/her right to counsel and, as to indigent individuals, the right to assigned counsel.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens who start drinking at an early age are about seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related accident than teens who don’t drink. The NHTSA also noted that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and that underage drivers under the influence of alcohol are involved in about one-fourth of these fatal accidents.

In New Jersey, as in most states throughout the country, you must be at least 21 years old to legally purchase, possess or drink alcohol. Youths who violate this age restriction expose themselves to fines and other penalties under the law. Adults who help them obtain the alcohol are subject to penalties under New Jersey’s social host liability laws.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

Penalties for possessing or drinking alcohol under the age of 21 in New Jersey include fines beginning at $500, community service, and possible mandatory enrollment in a treatment or alcohol education program. If you are caught possessing or drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle, those penalties will also include a suspension of your driving privileges for six months.

For young drivers, the “legal” blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.01%, as opposed to 0.08% for adult drivers. Therefore, drivers under 21 who are caught with even a trace of alcohol in their system face suspension or postponement of their driving privileges for six months. This applies even if you are caught possessing or drinking alcohol before you are eligible for your driver’s license. In that event, the suspension of your driving privileges will continue until six months after your seventeenth birthday.

You could face additional consequences depending upon the circumstances of your individual case. For example, you could face penalties for the use of a fake ID to obtain the alcohol, or you could be held liable for damages you caused while under the influence.

Adults Face Consequences Too

Adults could face lawsuits and possible criminal prosecution if they supply the alcohol and/or allow for underage drinking on property they own, especially in cases where the underage drinking was found to be responsible for injury or death of someone involved.

There are a few exemptions to the underage drinking laws in New Jersey. For instance, it is permissible for a minor to consume alcohol in association with a religious ceremony, observation or right. It is also permissible for parents or legal guardians to serve alcohol to their own teenage children in a private setting as long as the parents or guardians are present. However, it is not okay to serve alcohol to, or permit drinking by, your children’s friends on your property whether or not you are present at the time.

Seek Professional Counsel

Underage drinking is not a right; it is a disorderly persons offense, which in New Jersey is considered a misdemeanor crime. Because of this, it is important to get legal representation if your child is facing such charges.

Through his experience as a prosecutor in Hunterdon County, Anthony Kearns is acquainted with police procedures and practices as is Victor Rotolo, an former officer on the Elizabeth, NJ police force. Both Messrs. Kearns and Rotolo are criminal attorneys experienced in juvenile matters, All the attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law are your advocates in the courtroom. If you or your child is facing charges related to underage drinking or enabling underage drinking, contact Kearns Rotolo Law today at (908) 534-7900. Our attorneys will work to protect your rights and those of your child.

What Our Clients are Saying

The absolute BEST!!! I have a family of attorneys but needed someone local. Victor was recommended to me and words cannot describe how pleased I was with his firm. The outstanding service and attention each member of his staff gave to me surpassed any and all expectations. Victor surrounds himself with a hardworking team that he leads. I felt it was money spent wisely. I will continue to recommend Victor and his associates.

- Stephanie

Mr. Rotolo has helped me numerous times in legal matters and has continued to support and help me through countless hardships. He is dedicated to providing the best service and is a true professional. I will continue to consult with him regarding any legal issues in the future. He is a respectable, hardworking, kind hearted man and I would recommend his legal services to anyone.

- Matthew

I am an attorney and have practiced law for 26 years. I hired Vic to handle a very difficult family matter because I do not handle family law. Vic was extremely competent and obtained a result far beyond my expectations. Without his counsel my son's and family's life would have been changed forever. Thank you Vic for your good lawyering. I very much appreciate the personal attention and time dedicated to this matter. I highly recommend Vic.

- Anthony

We recently had a situation where we needed to hire an attorney. We selected Kearns Rotolo Law and I can honestly say that we were above and beyond satisfied with Vic and his team. We would absolutely recommend this firm to anyone should the need arise. We blindly picked the firm out of the phone book because I liked his ad. Now I believe that God was pointing us in the right direction. Thank you Vic and Kearns Rotolo Law for being there for us in our time of need.

- Kim

Victor's expertise, due diligence, and empathy for his client made my first experience with the law (and last) a non-stressful one. Before the case, I did my research and looked over about 20 lawyers before choosing Victor. All my sources pointed to him as the best and they weren't off even a bit. Victor treated my case like it was his own and kept me up to date with all my appointments, breakthroughs in the case, and guided me step through step in a process that I never thought that I had to come to endure. If Victor's not available Susy will go out of her way to take care you. The productivity and efficiency in that office is second to none. Thank you Victor!

- Michael