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Laws restricting access to alcohol among minors were first enacted in the 20th century. Initially these laws varied dramatically from state to state. In 1984, however, Congress enacted the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, prohibiting persons under 21 from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol. To enforce the act a portion of federal highway funds is withheld from any state that refuses to comply. Today, every state, including New Jersey, prohibits underage drinking.

In an effort to discourage the underage consumption of alcohol, students from The College of New Jersey's Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity participated in "Project Sticker Shock." With permission from liquor stores and other establishments, the students placed brightly colored stickers on alcoholic products warning about the dangers of underage drinking and selling alcohol to minors. Project Sticker Shock is a national campaign whose volunteers apply thousands of stickers prior to holidays.

Approximately 400,000 minors in New Jersey start drinking each year. In addition, just under half of all New Jersey high school students reported consuming an alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days. While Project Sticker Shock is primarily concerned with the physical and developmental consequences of underage drinking, the project displays the legal consequences to help deter consumption. This includes the legal consequences for juveniles as well as those for adults who purchase alcohol for minors.

Teenagers ticketed for the minor consumption of alcohol may have to pay hefty fines. If a minor is convicted of underage drinking and driving they can face even greater penalties. Adults who purchase alcohol for minors also face serious repercussions, including up to six months in jail. If an underage teenager But teenagers and young adults do make mistakes and those mistakes are no reason not to probably defend their rights if they are confronted with criminal charges. A good defense can mitigate the punishment or get the charges dropped entirely.

Source: NJ.com, "TCJN students use stickers to warn customers that buying alcohol for minors is illegal," Jon Offredo, Aug. 29, 2013

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