[Adopted by Ord. No. 00-21 (Sec. 3-22 of the 2002 Revised General Ordinances)]
Senate No. 692 was duly passed by both houses of the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by the Governor on June 26, 2000, to become effective immediately. This legislation amends N.J.S.A. 40:48-1.2 to provide a new section authorizing a municipality to enact an ordinance making it unlawful for any person under the legal age, who, without legal authority, knowingly possesses or knowingly consumes an alcoholic beverage on private property and provides for the assessment of penalties, including the suspension, revocation or postponement of certain driving privileges. The Township of Clark intends to adopt an ordinance in accordance with the aforesaid enabling legislation. The Municipal Council of the Township of Clark is of the opinion that such an ordinance is in the public interest and will promote public safety and will contribute to the overall public health, safety and welfare of the community at large.
It shall be unlawful for any person under the legal age who, without legal authority, knowingly possesses or knowingly consumes an alcoholic beverage on private property.
Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-1.2, as amended, be punished by a fine of $250 for a first offense and $350 for any subsequent offense.
In addition to the fine authorized for this offense, the court may suspend or postpone for six months the driving privilege of the defendant. Upon the conviction of any person and the suspension or postponement of that person's driver's license, the court shall forward a report to the Division of Motor Vehicles stating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-1.2, as amended. If a person at the time of the imposition of sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of license postponement, including a suspension or postponement of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period of six months after the person reaches the age of 17 years.
If a person at the time of the imposition of a sentence has a valid driver's license issued by this state, the court shall immediately collect the license and forward it to the Division of Motor Vehicles along with the report. If for any reason the license cannot be collected, the court shall include in the report the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and sex of the person, as well as the first and last date of the license suspension period imposed by the court.
The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement, the person shall be subject to the penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40. A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing. Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.
If a person convicted under this section is not a New Jersey resident, the court shall suspend or postpone, as appropriate, the nonresidential driving privilege of the person based on the age of the person and submit it to the Division of Motor Vehicles on the required report. The court shall not collect the license of a nonresident convicted under this section. Upon receipt of a report for the court, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction of the suspension or postponement.
Nothing contained in this section is intended, nor shall it be construed, as prohibiting an underage person from consuming or possessing an alcoholic beverage in connection with a religious observance, ceremony or rite or consuming or possessing an alcoholic beverage in the presence of and with the permission of a parent, guardian or relative who has attained the legal age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.
As used in the preceding Subsection A, the following terms shall have the meaning set forth:
- A person who has qualified as a guardian of the underage person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment.
- The underage person's grandparent, aunt or uncle, sibling or any other person related by blood or affinity.
Nothing contained in this section is intended nor shall it be construed as prohibiting possession of alcoholic beverages by any such person while actually engaged in the performance of employment by a person who is licensed under Title 33 of the Revised Statutes, or while actively engaged in the preparation of food while enrolled in a culinary arts or hotel management program at a county vocational school or post-secondary educational institution; provided, however, that this section shall not be construed to preclude the imposition of a penalty under this section, N.J.S.A. 33.1-81, or any other section of law against a person who is convicted of unlawful alcoholic beverage activity on or at premises licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages.