What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws
Some Social Host Laws are better than others and the current version that is under consideration by Oklahoma’s House of Representatives appears to be a winner. Known as Cody’s Law, in memory of Cody Ryan Greenhaw who died at age 16 in 2004, Oklahoma’s House Bill 1211 is an attempt to stiffen Oklahoma’s current Social Host Law which is limited to situations where the minor dies or suffers bodily harm.
House Bill 1211 is specific and requires proof of wrongdoing. The language is relatively simple, as legislative language goes:
No person shall knowingly and willfully permit any individual under twenty-one (21) years of age …to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage…, any low-point beer… any controlled dangerous substance …, or any combination thereof. (See The three little words that make all the difference.)
I do wish it replaced the term person with the term adult so we wouldn’t continue to punish the same minors we’re trying to protect. (See Catch 21: The teen trap).
As for penalties, HB 1211 has a sliding scale from a misdemeanor conviction and fines for first-time offenders of $500 or less to a felony conviction, fines up to $2,500 and jail time of up to five years for repeat offenders. Also, any convicted Social Host can be convicted of a felony, pay the top fines and serve jail time in addition to those already assessed if “great bodily injury or the death of a person” occurs.
Cody’s mom, Serena Greenhaw, has been leading this charge. To learn more about Cody’s Law, about Cody or about Serena Greenhaw, check out these links: