As a defense attorney, I always look for a way to win for my client. A hopeless case is rare as there is almost always something that can be done. When it comes to underage gambling charges in Atlantic City, that’s not really the case. Each year, some 400 to 500 people are charged with underage gambling. Over the last few years, the prosecutor has only lost one case. Why?
Because the cases are probably the easiest cases to prosecute. The State needs to show that the defendant is under 21 which is rather easy to do for just about anyone as they generally show ID when arrested and/or admit to security that they are not 21. Then, the State needs to show that the defendant was gambling. Not only do you have the testimony of the security person but there is almost always a camera. Result = slam dunk case for the State.
I have raised a number of arguments including awareness of the law itself based upon lack of signage and the failure to publish the crime in New Jersey’s criminal code a.k.a. Title 2C. These arguments and just about every single argument any lawyer has ever made has been and will be shut down. Why? I’m not about to get myself in trouble but let me tell you this. Casinos get fined a ton of money if it is found that they are permitting underage people to gamble. So put two and two together.
So why not plea bargain the case down? First, why would they for such an easy case? Second, due to a number of factors, including an issue involving a high profile case from a few years ago, there are no plea bargains where they will dismiss the charge in exchange for a non-criminal offense.
Your options? The statute is ripe for appeal as it has never been challenged. However, unless you have tens of thousands of dollars to appeal the case all the way up to the Appellate Division (not to mention a few years) your only option is try to keep the penalties down to a minimum. Those penalties include a driver’s license suspension even though underage gambling has nothing to do with driving. Unlike suspensions for drug crimes, there is no hardship application to be made which is yet another issue ripe for appeal.
A lawyer can help get the minimums as I have done for many clients. Even better, if you are an out of state resident, a lawyer can appear on your behalf so that you don’t have to travel all the way back to New Jersey. Even better, since the court is efficient and I have done so many of these, it is rather easy for me to get in and out of court. There is also no guess work as to what needs to be done. The result is that I can keep my fee down so that it is not expensive to get a lawyer to walk you through the process and help you get the minimum penalties.
Call me today to discuss any of this further.