Jersey Shore Legal Update – Wildwood Bans Alcohol, Atlantic City ends conceal carry, and Sea Isle bans backpack, all due to summer safety concerns.
The Memorial Day weekend is about to start but there are some new changes to the laws and ordinances at various South Jersey Shore towns where many plan to travel from the Philadelphia Metro area this summer
Wildwood, New Jersey – Ban on Alcohol at Beaches & Boardwalk
The shore town of Wildwood, New Jersey has banned all alcohol on its beaches and boardwalk. The new ordinance will take effect in 20 days and so beachgoers headed to this town, which has experienced various incidents over the years, will not have to abide by the ordinance just yet.
The two ordinances passed unanimously through its Board of Commissioners. The first ordinance prohibits the consumption, display or possession of any alcoholic beverage on the entire beach and boardwalk. This would apply to all types of containers, whether open or closed, except in designated bars and restaurants. Violators will face fines of up to $2,000 and potentially 90 days in jail; these, however, are the maximum penalties.
A second ordinance designates underage drinking, alcohol possession and other offenses as “breach of peace” violations. This would allow police the authority to arrest violators and potentially hold them until they are picked up by parents or legal guardians, depending on the offense.
While each of these ordinances are not criminal offenses, they still subject the violators to fines and potential jail. A civil ordinance violation, however, would not affect a person’s criminal record
No Guns in Atlantic City Casinos or other “sensitive places”
In February of this year all 9 of Atlantic City casinos banned firearms and weapons from casino property. Prior to this ban, however, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law which banned guns from the following “sensitive places”:
- Entertainment venues, including stadiums, arenas, amusement parks, casinos, racetracks, and publicly owned libraries and museum;
- Youth sporting events and other recreational facilities, such as public parks, beaches, and playground;
- Bars, restaurants where alcohol is served, and any other locations that serve alcohol for on-premises consumption;
- Airports and public transportation hubs
Locations with vulnerable populations
- Schools, colleges, and universities
- Daycare and child-care facilities
- Hospitals and health care facilities
- Long-term care facilities and nursing homes
- Correctional facilities, juvenile justice facilities, and halfway houses
- Homeless shelters
Locations with governmental and First Amendment activity
- Polling places
- Law enforcement stations and offices
- Government buildings and locations with government meetings
- Demonstrations, protests, and licensed public gatherings
Murphy signed this law in response to the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court in the N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen which made it unconstitutional to require applicants in New York to show “proper cause” to carry a handgun in public. This had the effect of invalidating New Jersey’s longstanding laws restricting public carry to those who could demonstrate a “justifiable need”.
Backpacks in Sea Isle City
Sea Isle City has passed a new ordinance focused on the size of bags and backpacks larger than 8 by 6 by 8 inches deep from the Promenade boardwalk, beaches, and beachside streets between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. from May 15 to Sept. 15. Excluded items are medical devices, equipment for journalists, people engaged in fishing, or Sea Isle City police officers.
This city ordinance was passed in response to teens gathering late at night to allegedly drink and vandalize property. Violators will have to pay a fine (adults $25 to $100.) Minors will be given two warnings and after the second warning, police will take minors to the police station to call their parents.
Ocean City police can detain minors for ‘breach of peace’
There is already a curfew for kids under 17 years old in Ocean City which prohibits them from public areas without an adult between the hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. from May 16 to Sept. 30 — in the offseason, it’s 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. (students and workers are exempt).
Similar to Wildwood, the new ordinance, however, allows police to detain underage people for “breach of the peace” offenses, for a variety of violations like breaking curfew, making excessive noise, or activity that police deem loud, indecent or offensive. This means police can now detain and bring underage people to the police station to call their parent or guardian. These teen violators, however, won’t be arrested or charged for these violations.
Again, while each of these ordinances are not criminal offenses, they still subject the violators to fines and potential jail. A civil ordinance violation, however, would not affect a person’s criminal record.
Our law firm wishes you and your family a happy and healthy summer 2023. If you have questions about your constitutional rights in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, call our law firm today!
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