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Township Strengthens Rules On Underage Drinking

The Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees took steps in December to toughen its rules concerning underage alcohol consumption and at the same time strengthened its local control on the issue by amending the Township’s Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance.

The amended ordinance now allows Township police to consider the blood alcohol level of a minor as evidence of a minor in possession of alcohol infraction.

"Prior to this, a minor had to physically have possession of alcohol before we could charge them. That really only tackles half the problem," said Bloomfield Township Police Capt. Scott McCanham. "Also, by updating our ordinance, the Township is now in line with state law concerning minors in possession of alcohol."

The amended ordinance allows police to request a preliminary chemical breath analysis if they suspect a minor has consumed alcohol. Refusal to submit to the test is considered an automatic civil infraction carrying a fine of $100.

Also included in the amended ordinance is a provision requiring police to notify the guardian or parents of minors found to be in possession of alcohol.

A first-time violation of the ordinance can net an offending minor both the $100 fine and an order to participate in substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation programs and perform community service.

A judge may impose probation on an offending minor. Provided the conditions of the probation are met, the judge can dismiss the case.