Have You Been Charged with Underage Gambling in NJ?

Call us today at (732)842-7773 or contact us by email if you or someone you know has been charged with Underage Gambling in NJ.  This is a charge with potentially serious consequences and a skilled lawyer may help beat or reduce the charge against you.  We can help.

Underage Gambling Charge in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 5:12-119

A charge for underage gambling in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 5:12-119. This is known as a disorderly persons offense which is the lowest level criminal offense in New Jersey. However, if you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense (known as a “DP”) you have technically been convicted of a crime and this offense will show up on a background check. As a result, a conviction for underage gambling could have a significant impact on future employment and educational opportunities.

The statute provides, in pertinent part:

N.J. Stat. § 5:12-119 (2010) Gaming by certain persons prohibited; penalties; defenses

a. No person under the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages shall enter, or wager in, a licensed casino or simulcasting facility; provided, however, that such a person may enter a casino or simulcasting facility by way of passage to another room, and provided further, however, that any such person who is licensed or registered under the provisions of the “Casino Control Act,” P.L. 1977, c. 110, may enter a casino or simulcasting facility in the regular course of the person’s permitted activities.

Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be fined not less than $ 500 and not more than $ 1,000. In addition, the court shall suspend or postpone the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle for six months.

Upon the conviction of any person under this section, 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 this section. If a person at the time of the imposition of a 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 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 the person convicted under this section is not a New Jersey resident, the court shall suspend or postpone, as appropriate given the age at the time of sentencing, the non-resident driving privilege of the person and submit to the division the required report. The court shall not collect the license of a non-resident convicted under this section. Upon receipt of a report by the court, the division shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction of the suspension or postponement.

b. Any licensee or employee of a casino who allows a person under the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages to remain in or wager in a casino or simulcasting facility is guilty of a disorderly persons offense; except that the establishment of all of the following facts by a licensee or employee allowing any such underage person to remain shall constitute a defense to any prosecution therefor:

(1) That the underage person falsely represented in writing that he or she was at or over the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages;

(2) That the appearance of the underage person was such that an ordinary prudent person would believe him or her to be at or over the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages; and

(3) That the admission was made in good faith, relying upon such written representation and appearance, and in the reasonable belief that the underage person was actually at or over the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.

c. A person who knowingly allows or permits another person who is under his or her lawful care, custody, or control and who is under the age at which a person is authorized to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages to wager or attempt to wager in a licensed casino or simulcasting facility in violation of subsection a. of this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

Explanation of the Statute and Penalties Involved

As the above statute details, it is illegal for an underage individual (under 21 years of age in New Jersey) to be present on the casino floor unless the defendant can prove that they were merely “passing through” for some particular reason. Moreover, unfortunately the State does not offer any type of plea bargain in these cases. Thus, a defendant is forced to either plead guilty and have a criminal offense on their record or take the case to trial.

It is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you at trial in an underage gambling case. The State has to prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt and they must prove every element of the underlying offense. Further, the penalties involved are very severe as you are facing a permanent criminal charge on your record, up to $1,000.00 fine, and a six (6) month license suspension. Contact the Moriarty Law Firm for immediate assistance at (732)842-7773.

We Handle All Types of Criminal Charges

Criminal charges can be brought in either the Municipal or Superior court. The more severe the criminal charges the more likely they are to be handled in Superior Court, while minor charges are typically resolved in Municipal Court. We have a well deserved reputation for being the best in both arenas.

The severity of your charges is a determination made by the State and is usually based on a variety of factors. Penalties will vary based on the degree of the crime and whether or not there was a criminal conspiracy involved.

Call 732-842-7773 to speak with one of the Moriartys 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your charges or you can contact us by e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation.