Byram officials going after underage party drinking

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:15

    Byram-Come September, Byram police may be able to crash a private party if there is underage drinking taking place there. Contrary to popular belief, currently police officers cannot stop underage drinking if done on private property. Next month, however, the Byram Township Council will consider an ordinance to prohibit the practice. If passed, the ordinance would allow the police department to fine people under the age of 21 who are found to be drinking even if they are on private property. The legislation also would make it illegal for any adult to serve beer or wine to anyone under the age of 21, except for their own children or for religious observances. The ordinance was suggested for council review by the Byram Police Department. According to Manager Greg Poff, the police department wanted the ability to stop youngsters from drinking alcohol when officers are called to a noise violation. "This issue revolves around house parties," said Poff. "If the council enacts it, this ordinance would allow the police to take enforcement action against minors on private property." As proposed, violators of the ordinance would be subject to a fine of $250 for a first offense, and $350 for any subsequent offenses. In addition, courts would also be able to suspend a violator's driving license for up to six months. During a brief discussion at the Byram Township Council Meeting Monday night, the council was informed of the fact that Newton and Wantage already have similar legislation. The Byram Police Department was unavailable for comment for this story. The ordinance is set to be officially introduced to the council on Sept. 7.