Buried deep in an article about car accident reenactments for Park Rapids, MN students, the importance of seat-belts and the dangers of texting while driving, were these brief, disturbingly understated, paragraphs about the current state of Social Host Laws in Minnesota:
“More than 70 Minnesota cities and counties have implemented social host ordinances, which make it unlawful to provide an environment where underage drinking takes place, regardless of who provides the alcohol.[emphasis mine]
As a misdemeanor, any host [including teens] found criminally responsible of violating the social host ordinance will face a penalty of time in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Adults who provide alcohol to minors [inaccurate: all that’s required for liability is that you rent, manage or own the place where drinking takes place] can be held responsible and suffer serious criminal, legal and financial consequences, including: felony charges and prison time in the case of death; civil liability charges in the case of injury, property damage or death; and increased insurance rates.”
Prison time? Felony charges? Civil lawsuits? Without any explicit cause of action* by the student or adult? Thank you Park Rapids Enterprise for the scary story. Next time, please don’t bury the lead.
* explicit cause of action means that there must be a connection between the acts of the defendant and damages [http://dictionary.law.com].