Law Office of Steven J. Feldman
Certified Criminal Defense Attorney

3 common alcohol crimes

Many people consume alcoholic beverages to simply relax or have a good time. Unfortunately, things can sometimes get out of hand when people are drunk. Drunk individuals may face criminal charges for a variety of offenses, from driving under the influence to disorderly conduct.

In fact, New Jersey even has a Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control to address these unique problems. There are many state laws to prohibit unlawful possessions or use of alcoholic beverages. Here are some offenses that commonly occur in relation to alcohol.

1. Disorderly conduct

New Jersey specifically outlaws disorderly conduct, namely improper behavior and offensive language. Some reasons why drunken individuals may face disorderly conduct charges include the following:

  • Fighting or brawling
  • Threatening someone
  • Partaking in violent behavior
  • Creating a dangerous environment without a legitimate purpose
  • Using offensive language (i.e. language that is loud, abusive and/or coarse)

Basically, it is illegal for someone to cause inconvenience, alarm or annoyance to members of the public. The maximum penalties for disorderly conduct include a $500 fine, six months in jail and monetary compensation for any victims. 

2. Driving while intoxicated

If drunk people choose to drive in New Jersey, they can face harsh criminal penalties. A first DWI offense is punishable by 30 days of imprisonment, $400 fine, license suspension for three months, intoxicated driver education and an annual car insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years.

3. Open container

New Jersey law explicitly outlaws having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. An open container can either mean that the seal of the container is broken or the beverage is in a cup or glass. A first conviction for having an open container of alcohol comes with a $200 fine. However, any additional convictions result in a $250 fine and up to 10 days of mandatory community service. 

Consumption of alcohol is certainly not always dangerous or unlawful. However, it can sometimes lead to legal trouble if things go awry.

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