|TRENTON – The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control today announced charges against two Jersey Shore area establishments for violations including service to actually or apparently intoxicated patrons and serving to those under the age of 21.
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre said the ABC has charged the Forked River House (Lacey Township) for service to an actually or apparently intoxicated patron on six separate occasions. The Division also is alleging that Porta (Asbury Park) served alcohol to underage persons on two occasions. The Division is seeking to suspend the Forked River House’s license to serve alcohol for 180 days, and is pursuing a 60-day suspension for Porta.
“The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and its partners work tirelessly to ensure licensees strictly obey our laws regarding who may be served alcohol,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “Myriad dangers result from serving patrons too much alcohol or serving those under 21. An intoxicated person can unleash deadly consequences behind the wheel, and study after study has shown the physical and emotional harm caused by underage drinking. Licensees who ignore these dangers and break the law must face appropriate penalties.”
The Division is alleging that on six occasions from August of 2012 to March of 2013, the Forked River House served alcohol to a patron who was actually or apparently intoxicated, which violates ABC law. In each of those occasions, those patrons were later arrested by local police departments for driving while intoxicated. The Blood Alcohol Content for each of those drivers ranged from .15% to .21%.
“The ABC is on the front line in the battle against drunk driving. Safety on New Jersey’s roads begins with responsible service at New Jersey’s bars and restaurants,” Halfacre said. “Owning a liquor license in New Jersey can be a fantastic investment, but that license brings with it many responsibilities, including making sure that your customers are not being served to a point of intoxication.”
The charges against Porta stem from two undercover investigations in the summer of 2012. On June 9, the investigators arrested two 20-year-old women for consuming alcohol underage. A month later, investigators made another arrest at Porta of a 20-year-old woman.
Halfacre said the Division vigorously pursues underage drinkers and those who provide alcohol to those under 21. He also said the ABC’s “Cops in Shops” Summer Shore initiative, which provides grants for local police departments to target underage purchasers of alcohol at liquor stores, has already resulted in 42 arrests just a few weeks into the program. He noted that his agency’s detectives have conducted nearly 2,700 investigations in the past 12 months at licensed establishments in New Jersey.
Both establishments can plead guilty, not guilty or non-vult (no contest), to the charges they are facing. Should they be found guilty of the allegations, the establishments would be required to cease serving alcohol for the term of their license suspensions.