What Are My Rights if I Have a House Party in NJ?
Facing Charges after a House Party in New Jersey?
The last thing you want or expect when hosting a house party is to have a neighbor call the police to complain or end up with a criminal charge against you. Whether you are hosting your own party or opening your home for your another person’s party, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when hosting a house party in New Jersey. In the area surrounding Rutgers in New Brunswick, there is an abundance of off-campus housing where college students host parties on a regular basis. If you are charged with a crime at a house party in New Brunswick, Piscataway, or a nearby town, the New Brunswick criminal defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver can help you successfully resolve your case. We defend clients charged with disorderly conduct, simple assault, drug possession, resisting arrest, underage drinking, and other crimes in New Brunswick regularly, and we know what it takes to help you avoid serious penalties. Contact us anytime at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation.
Noise complaints from neighbors in NJ
One of the most common issues people have when hosting a house party is having the police arrive at their door to inform them that a neighbor called to make a noise complaint. While you may think, what’s a party without noise—it’s easy to understand how your neighbors might not share your enthusiasm or be so understanding when loud music or yelling is waking them up late at night or in the early hours of the morning.
In New Jersey, playing loud music is not a crime but may be a violation of a municipal noise ordinance and result in a citation. Notably, an ordinance is not a criminal offense. It is similar to a ticket and usually punishable by a fine.
Can the police come into my house party in New Brunswick?
In order to enter your home, the police must generally have your consent or a warrant, with a few exceptions. First, it is important to know that if the police ask for permission to enter your home, you are not required to consent. If they have a warrant or emergency circumstances apply, they may enter. Emergency circumstances apply if the police are: (1) pursuing a fleeing felon; (2) preventing the imminent destruction of evidence; (3) preventing a suspect from escaping; or (3) preventing danger to the police or others.
What if underage minors are drinking at the party in New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, if you provide alcohol to underage minors—individuals under the age of 21—by purposely or knowingly serving, providing, or making available alcoholic beverages, you can be held criminally liable for a disorderly persons offense. This law is fairly strict with the only exceptions being when the minor is your child, the alcohol is provided as part of a religious ceremony, or the minor’s parent or guardian is present and has given their permission. As you can imagine, this is very common at college house parties because a great deal of college students are under the age of 21. Even if you can legally buy alcohol, you can’t serve it to an under-classmen without risking criminal charges in New Jersey.
If you yourself are an underage minor and are caught drinking alcohol at a house party, you may be charged with violating a municipal ordinance, if the municipality has passed an ordinance against underage drinking. Although New Jersey has not expressly outlawed underage drinking on private property, you can be charged with a violation of Section 2C:33-15 under the New Jersey Criminal Code if you possess or consume alcohol on public property or any property owned by the government or used for public purposes. Note, this includes streets and sidewalks, so police can charge you if you are outside of a house.
What should I do to avoid problems with the police when hosting a house party?
If you host a very loud party with underage drinking, you are asking for problems. House parties can be hosted without legal trouble if certain rules are followed and safety measures are taken, such as not serving alcohol to minors or providing minors with open access to alcohol at a house party, not playing music so loudly that it disturbs your neighbors, and certainly not using drugs or allowing others to use illegal drugs in your home. It is also a good idea to keep the size of your party small enough so that it is manageable to monitor what is taking place at your home.
Some of the most common charges at house parties in New Brunswick involve people who have been drinking. For example, disorderly conduct, simple assault, and resisting arrest often occur because the person’s judgment is impaired by alcohol. Be careful to monitor how much you consume during your own party or as a guest because one lapse in judgment can lead to serious legal problems.
Charged with a Crime at a New Brunswick House Party?
If you have been arrested or issued a summons at a party in New Brunswick, New Jersey or elsewhere near Rutgers University, contact the skilled New Brunswick criminal defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver to learn more about protecting your rights. Call (732) 659-9600 or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced New Brunswick defense attorney.