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New Ordinance Targets Underage Drinking in Private Residences

Violators can be fined, possibly face loss of driver's license


Underage drinkers - thinking about throwing a party in your home while the folks are away? Think again.

The Township Council recently adopted an ordinance that gives police more enforcement power when it comes to underage drinking in private residences.

"The adoption of this ordinance now enables township police to enter onto private property and issue citations for underage drinking, when a guardian and/or parent is not present," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.

The ordinance targets parties on private private property where underage persons are present and drinking alcohol without the permission or knowledge of parents, relatives or guardians, the mayor said.

It also provides immunity for anyone who calls 911 for medical assistance for an underage drinker and the underage drinker who receives assistance, Amato said.

The ordinance was prompted by a family who came to the June 12 Township Council meeting to complain about rowdy underage drinkers who partied more than 12 hours one day over Memorial Day weekend.

"We listened to them brag about how they intended to enjoy a "Jersey Shore" weekend," said William Wynne, whose wife's family has owned a bungalow in Midway Beach since 1995. "They intended to follow in the footsteps of their heroes, Snooki, the Situation..."

The youths also bragged about obtaining liquor and fake I.D.s, even though they were underage, Wynne told the council.

Township Attorney Lauren Staiger said at the June 12 council meeting she wasn't sure if the township had an ordinance regulating underage drinking in private residences. But there is one the books now, with the council's adoption of the ordinance at the Sept. 6 meeting.

Violators will be fined $250 for the first offense and $350 for any subsequent offenses. The municipal court judge could also "suspend or postpone" driving priviliges for six months, the ordinance states.

Frank B September 12, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Wow Sounds good!
JD September 12, 2012 at 08:18 PM
The ordinance is UNCONSTITUTIONAL... Can' regulate what goes on inside private home. Noise ordinance... sure... you give them a citation. But they cannot enter a private residence without a warrant.... The township attorney must be clueless.
JD September 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
A police officer can sit outside the residence and issue citations as the kids come out.
Chief Wahoo September 12, 2012 at 08:55 PM
how many of the Berkeley cops, drank underage ???????
JD September 12, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Also, a town can't suspend a drivers license if it has nothing to do with driving. If the kid was in the car... different story... I smell a lawsuit.... then malpractice against township attorney for being stupid.
Frank B September 12, 2012 at 11:23 PM
JD while I am not in favor of a new law for everything perhaps this should happen in a house next to you......
dave September 12, 2012 at 11:50 PM
would you rather have them drinking at home or in the woods boozin,driving around? c'mon, we all did it
JD September 13, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Don't confuse a noise ordinance violation with Entering into a home without a warrant!! I have no problems with the cops issuing a citation for violating noise. Furthermore, the state contols the laws regarding drivers licenses... and town can't create their own law... the drivers license is a state issued license (not town... duh!)... and you can't suspend driving privileges when the person wasn't driving!! Can we call this Berktucky!!!
JD September 13, 2012 at 02:50 AM
This is a complaint from Midway Beach... next to Seaside Park... where the bungalows are 5 feet apart... summer rentals... Heck, if they keep their windows open... they can probably hear the neighbor snooring at night!!! (I was going to use a different example)
sandy bottom September 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM
ill drink to that
brokeninbayville September 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM
wish that was enforced this summer, but how do you know if the parents are home? We had an awful summer with this same situation in a summer rental. They ran and hid when police were called because they knew the police could not enter the home then came back outside when they left.
Ginny September 13, 2012 at 03:11 PM
JD, underage drinking is against state law. State law provides that someone convicted of drinking underage loses their driving privileges -- and it can happen even before they receive their license.
Ginny September 13, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Chief, how does what was done 20 or 30 years ago make it OK now? It wasn't OK then either.
Ginny September 13, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Dave, why is it acceptable for kids to drink underage? And if they're drinking at a party at your home, and they leave and kill someone, you do realize that you will be held liable for it, correct?


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