When throwing a graduation party many parents say the same thing when it comes to drinking:
“The kids are going to drink anyway, so why don’t we provide a place in our home for them where they can be supervised?”
In response, we have found a few pieces of information to think about as well as the laws in Massachusetts.
- While parents who adopt this approach think they will be able to supervise a teenage party with alcohol, they cannot predict situations that may develop if a minor has been drinking.
- Good intentions aside, this approach may subject both parents and child to criminal penalties and civil liability.
- If teenage alcohol consumption has taken place at a supervised party, and the teenagers have left the home, the “social host’s” responsibility does not end.
The following are penalties one may face if they choose to host a party and/or provide alcohol for minors.
Contributing to the delinquency of minor.
Penalty: Max. 1 yr in prison; $500 fine or both.
Sale, delivery, furnishing alcohol to person under 21 years old.
Penalty: Max. 1 yr in prison, max. $2,000 fine; or both
Can I be sued if my child or a teenage guest at my home drinks alcohol and harms another person?
Yes. Under the principle of social host liability, you can be held financially responsible if your guest harms or kills another person after having consumed alcohol at your home.
Why should I be liable for the criminal or negligent acts of my guests? If my guest kills or injures someone in a drunk driving accident after drinking in my home, why should that be my problem?
If your guest was under age 21 and you allowed him to consume alcohol, you committed a crime. Violation of a criminal statute is powerful evidence that you were negligent. There is no good reason to allow anyone under 21 to drink alcohol. If your guest was an adult who was visibly impaired, you were negligent if you permitted him to drink alcohol at your home. There is no good reason to serve any impaired guest more alcohol.
For more information about the Social Host Liability Law’s and how to protect your children, visit our website at www.phillipsgarcia.com call us at 508-998-0800 or email Andrew Garcia at [email protected].