Underage Gambling In Atlantic County New Jersey FAQ
Underage gambling is a very common charge in Atlantic City casinos. N.J.S.A. 5:12-119 makes it a criminal offense for someone under age 21 to gamble at a casino in Atlantic City. The security officers working in the Atlantic City casinos don’t give any warnings and frequently charge underage individuals with the offense of underage gambling.
Is underage gambling a criminal offense?
Yes. The statute prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from gambling in an Atlantic City casino or any simulcast facility. Underage gambling is a disorderly persons offense, which is a criminal charge and becomes a criminal record.
What happens if you get caught gambling underage in Atlantic City?
This typically happens when a security officer approaches and requests identification to check on your age. The security officers do not give any breaks and you’ll be charged with the offense of underage gambling. You’ll be required to appear in Atlantic City Municipal Court to resolve the charge and the Atlantic City Municipal Prosecutor’s office will be handling the case.
What are the penalties for underage gambling?
N.J.S.A. 5:12-119 makes it a disorderly persons offense (criminal offense) to gamble under the age of 21. Although this is a low-level criminal offense, it’s still a very serious matter. A disorderly persons offense carries the possibility of a fine up to $1,000.00 and up to six months in jail. There is also a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for six months.
Can an underage gambling offense be dismissed?
Yes. The Atlantic City Prosecutor’s Office has a firm policy where they do not plea bargain any underaged gambling charges. There are, however, legal defenses to an underage gambling charge that may allow for a complete dismissal of your charge. You may be eligible to file a motion to dismiss the underage gambling charge under the de minimis law in New Jersey, which is N.J.S.A. 2C:2-11. The de minimis law allows the assignment judge of the Atlantic County Superior Court to exercise discretion and dismiss an underage gambling offense if the court finds that the underlying conduct on the casino floor is relatively trivial and does not warrant a prosecution. This is often a great way to have the underage gambling charge dismissed and avoid a criminal record depending upon the particular facts.
There is also a first offender program know as a conditional dismissal. This requires fingerprints and a criminal history background to make sure you have no criminal record. The conditional dismissal program requires a guilty plea to the underage gambling charge with one-year of probation. The guilty plea is nullified and the charge is dismissed after the probationary period as long as you successfully complete probation. You will then be eligible to file for an expungement six months after the charge is dismissed.
Do I need a lawyer for underage gambling charge in Atlantic City?
Yes. To avoid a criminal record, you will need to hire a uniquely qualified criminal defense attorney who has experience defending underage gambling cases in Atlantic City.
If you or your child have been charged with underage gambling in New Jersey, you need the assistance of a strong, local criminal defense attorney to ensure that rights are protected throughout the legal process.
John Tumelty is a battle-tested attorney who has represented countless clients accused of casino crimes in Atlantic City. As a former assistant county prosecutor with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Trial Section, he has a unique insight into how prosecutors evaluate a criminal case and prepare a case for court. This gives him a huge advantage when preparing a case and strategizing for trial. He will fight hard to protect you or your child and to avoid a criminal record.
Call 609-385-4010 or fill out our contact form today to request a free consultation with Mr. Tumelty
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.