Guest Post By Kris Bennette – More on Kris at the end of this post
Some parents let their teens throw a party in their own property, and some even allow their teens to drink because they believe that drinking is a part of growing up. Other parents believe that if their teen is going to drink, it is better if they drink at home because it is safer.
As a parent, you should not patronize underage drinking. Keep in mind that under the Social Host Liability laws, parents are accountable for underage drinking that happens in their property. To put it simply, parents who serve or supply alcohol to underage individuals can be held liable if that person is injured, causes injuries, or is caught drunk driving.
What Happens When Parents Serve Alcohol To Underage Individuals?
The legal drinking age in the United Sates is 21. Parents or adults who supply alcohol in their house to underage drinkers will face possible criminal charges. They will be subjected to civil and criminal penalties.
- Criminal Charges: If you or your spouse is caught supplying alcohol- even if it was unintentional- to underage individuals, you will face serious liabilities. In some states, you will have to pay huge fines and compensation to victims in case of an accident. You or your spouse may also face possible jail time for contributing to the felony of a minor. In one case, a mother got arrested and served time in jail when she bought a keg for her teenage son's 21st birthday party. This wouldn't have gotten her arrested; however, some of the guests who are still minors began drinking too.
- Financial Liability: Aside from facing possible criminal and civil lawsuits, you will also need to pay huge fees. In certain countries around the world, parents are held financially and criminally liable for underage drinking in their property- whether they knew about it or not. In addition, if your teen gets arrested for underage drinking and driving, you will have to pay fines of up to $2,500 on their behalf.
According to the DWI attorneys at Tad Nelson & Associates, if the parents knowingly serve alcohol to minors in their property and that minor gets sick, injures himself or someone else, or dies, the parents should be held financially responsible for the following: medical costs, damages to property, and pain and suffering.
Underage Drinking And Driving
The DUI laws are different for minors because alcohol has a different effect on their body. A blood alcohol content of .08 will put an adult in jail; however, an underage drinker will only need to have a BAC of .05 to face possible jail time. Some states even have zero tolerance. This means a BAC level of .01 will put an underage drinker in jail. In addition, minors can also have their driver's license suspended for one year if they are caught drinking and driving.
To protect your teenager and yourself from possible legal ramifications of underage drinking, you should take the time to talk with your teen. You should make him understand the possible consequences and legal liabilities involved if they choose to drink at home or at a party. If possible, avoid leaving your teenager alone overnight because they are likely to throw a party while you are away. In addition, you should seek legal assistance from a credible DUI/DWI attorney in case you or your teen gets in trouble with the law.
Guest Author: Kris Bennette has been writing professionally for more than two years. She occasionally writes finance and law topics where she discusses the possible legal ramifications of drunk driving.