New Jersey Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Private retail establishments sell all alcoholic beverages in New Jersey, and no alcoholic beverages are available in convenience marts or grocery stores. The hours that a store may sell alcohol are not regulated. Local ordinances prevail, and in certain areas of the state alcohol may not be sold at all.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 years of age to drink alcohol in New Jersey, but in all other respects such as working as a bartender, serving in a restaurant that offers alcohol, and selling alcohol at retail stores is legal at 18 years of age.
Open Container Laws
Containers of previously opened alcohol must be transported in the trunk of a car to comply with open container laws.
A driver is considered to be ‘per se intoxicated’ if proven to be over .08 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC). This proof is sufficient in a court to prove the driver to be guilty of DUI (driving under the influence).
There is no law in New Jersey that more severely punishes a driver for having a particularly high BAC as there is in many states.
A driver under the age of 21 who is proven to have a blood-alcohol content of .01 percent or more can be charged with DUI under ‘zero tolerance laws.’
Laws requiring drivers to submit to chemical testing for intoxication (breath, blood, or urine testing) are regulated under ‘implied consent laws.’ Refusing to cooperate carries penalties that can include mandatory suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year.
In New Jersey, penalties for the first DUI offense are mandatory driver’s license suspension for three months; for the second offense, two years; for the third offense, ten years. Penalties are enforced by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).
A driver’s vehicle cannot be confiscated for driving under the influence in New Jersey, but mandatory ignition interlock attachment is a possibility, as is mandatory alcohol abuse education, treatment, or assessment.
DUI is not considered a felony in New Jersey, regardless of the number of offenses.