All bets are off for gambling if you’re under 21 in New Jersey. This is especially true at Casinos in Atlantic City. We’ve all watched plenty of Hollywood Blockbusters to see how high-tech video surveillance at casinos can be. Security watches everyone who places a bet or pulls a slot machine handle. As soon as you set foot on the casino floor, they are watching you!
Because the stakes are so high for New Jersey casinos when it comes to gambling, they do everything they can to make sure they don’t lose. When you cash in your chips, you will have to show your identification. If you are gambling and you appear to be under 21, you may have to show your identification. If you are under 21, it is a safe bet that you will be charged with a crime. In New Jersey, that crime is a Disorderly Persons Offense.
Penalties for Underage Gambling in NJ
Don’t roll the dice, it’s not worth it if you’re under 21! Not only will you have to travel back to Atlantic City to appear in municipal court, you will not get the high rollers treatment from the Judge. Instead, you’ll face up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. And because underage gambling is so serious in NJ, the casino and gaming commission has doubled-down and the Court is REQUIRED to suspend your driver’s license for 6 months. If you’re under 17, you will have to wait 6 months until you can apply for a driver’s license. And plea bargaining is prohibited in underage gambling cases in New Jersey.
Warning for parents: If you hand your kids money to gamble on the casino floor, you can be charged with a disorderly person offense and face the same penalties. Remember, everything is on security video at a casino.
Defenses for Underage Gambling in NJ
While plea bargaining on underage gambling is prohibited, there are defenses that an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney will know about. Your attorney can file a “de minimis” motion to dismiss the charge. If your attorney files this motion, the case will be transferred to the Atlantic County Superior Court. I have successfully argued de minimis motions in Superior Court where the Judge dismissed underage gambling charges against my clients.
At the de minimis motion, the Judge will consider your background, experience and character. The judge will also consider the circumstances surrounding your underage gambling offense, the harm or evil threatened, and the seriousness of the punishment. People under 21 will no doubt need to apply for jobs, colleges, and graduate programs in the future. An underage gambling charge on your record will certainly hurt your career and education possibilities. Therefore, it is imperative to hire an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney for these charges.
Contact My Office Immediately
I am a New Jersey criminal trial attorney board certified by the NJ Supreme Court. New Jersey’s underage gambling laws are extremely complex and carry significant consequences. If you or a family member were arrested for underage gambling in New Jersey, contact me immediately so I can review your case and the evidence against you and advise you as to all possible defenses to make sure that you are properly represented. In many cases and circumstances charges can be downgraded or dismissed depending on the facts of your case. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.