Melanson Law Office P.C.
Social Host Laws and Underage Drinking
More and more counties are passing social host laws which place liability on the host for alcohol served to adult or minor guests. While there are no laws against serving your own children alcohol in your home, that right is not generally extended to other people’s children, and police are more likely to proceed with prosecution of the host if sufficient evidence is found. The overall goal is not to prosecute people, but to keep minors and all citizens on the roads and in the towns safe.
A recent article published in the Daily Freeman News discusses some of the dangers and liabilities of serving alcohol to minors. Often alcohol is served to minors or allowed by parents for relatively benign reasons such as to celebrate a special event, a graduation, prom, or a party. However, parents need to be aware of the possible consequences of serving alcohol to minors and know that it is usually against the law. Unfortunately, even when carefully planned or controlled, events can get out of hand and the host can be held accountable. Liability can be placed back on the host not just for driving, but for any of the following that occur via minors who have been knowingly allowed alcohol; death, accidental injury, physical alteration, vandalism, sex crimes, noise disturbances, as well as others.
The story is mentioned of an 18 year old student who left a party at the home of a local attorney and lost control of his vehicle. Another student riding with him was thrown from the vehicle and killed. At the time of the accident there were was no way to hold the parent responsible. However, today fault for this unfortunate death could be prosecuted back to the parent who knowingly allowed minors to have alcohol at his home.