It’s summer, which means it is only natural for high school and college-aged kids to get together and have fun. Unfortunately, for a lot of young people, having a good time could involve the consumption of alcohol. If you discover that your parents are out of town during the upcoming weekend, you may invite a few friends over for fun. That could quickly snowball into a loud, unruly party. Even if you keep things low-key, you could be putting yourself (and your parents) at risk by serving alcohol to your underage friends. If one of them leaves while under the influence, you could be liable.
While no one should be getting behind of the wheel after drinking, teenagers and young adults that do so incur more risk than others. While adults can legally operate a vehicle if they can drive unimpaired and their blood alcohol content (BAC) is less than 0.08 percent, those under the age of 21 must have a BAC of less than 0.02 percent to legally drive. For some who are thinner, that could mean a single drink makes driving illegal. If a crash occurs, even if the driver wasn’t really impaired, there could be drunk driving charges and you, as the host of the party, could be held liable for damages and injuries.
Connecticut made it illegal to serve minors, even in a home
State law in Connecticut is very clear: It is illegal to buy alcohol for minors, sell alcohol to minors or dispense alcohol to minors. This is called the Social Host Law. Even if you are serving beers to friends in the comfort of your home, you are still breaking the law. Worse, if your friends get into an accident after leaving your home, you or your parents could be held liable for the accident by the courts. A first offense, which could result from a neighbor calling law enforcement about your party, may get treated like a civil infraction. Any later offenses will likely get treated as misdemeanors.
If someone who was drinking at your home injures or kills another person while driving, these social host laws could be used in order to hold your family responsible for the accident. The victim or the family of the victim from the accident could sue your family, causing major financial issues. It’s typically the best decision to forego serving alcohol when meeting up with friends.
An attorney can help you after a mistake
If you hosted a party with underage drinking and are facing social host charges, working with an experienced Connecticut attorney can help. He or she can help you respond to the charges and explore your options. You should speak with a lawyer before you talk with law enforcement, if possible.