At Loughlin Fitzgerald PC, we understand that underage drinking poses a significant ongoing problem in Connecticut and across the nation. But did you know that you could be held legally responsible if you allow your child or his or her friends to possess alcohol at your home?
As explained by the Beverage Journal, Connecticut’s social host law, enacted in 2012, prohibits you from recklessly or with criminal negligence allowing anyone on your property under the age of 21 to possess alcohol. In addition, it likewise requires you to make reasonable efforts to stop any such underage person from possessing or consuming alcohol in your home. If prosecuted for and convicted of this social host crime, you could face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
In some situations, Connecticut’s social host liability law applies to adult as well as underage drinkers. Unfortunately, your greatest risk of running afoul of the social host law is the situation in which you or one of your teenagers hosts a party at your home where alcohol is served or easily accessible. Should any party guest become intoxicated and then get behind the wheel of his or her car, causing property damage or bodily injury on the way home, you likely will face paying damages if someone sues you.
All of this places you in the precarious position of both watching out for too much alcohol consumption on the part of adult party guests and being extra vigilant when your teenager hosts a party. You should never allow him or her to do so unless you are at home. It also remains your responsibility to see to it not only that your teenager serves no alcohol at his or her party, but also that no guest brings alcohol with him.
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