Underage Drinking & the Law

What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws

Serra’s attorney debates law’s constitutionality

Putting aside Constitutional issues and whether former school board member Serra knew kids were drinking at her home, there are troubling moral issues raised by her choice to leave the scene of an accident without calling 911 or staying to help.

The facts, as we understand them, are this: Chariho School Committee member Terri Serra was charged under the state’s Social Host Law and under the “duty to assist” law. She claims that she woke up to discover teens drinking alcohol in a trailor on her property after the homecoming dance on October 23, 2011. She asked them all to leave her property. Four teenagers left her property intoxicated, were injured in a car crash shortly after when they hit a tree speeding on Carolina Back Road. There are indications that Serra warned the teens not to drive away intoxicated. Serra appeared at the crash scene, spoke with one of the teens who had left the car, then she left the scene. According to The Westerly Sun, “Richmond police say there is no evidence that Serra provided alcohol to the teenagers.”  The driver, Lyle Topa, 17, was recently sentenced with the loss of his driver’s license in the state of Rhode Island, forever.

To learn more:

Video: Digging Deeper: RI Social Host Law

Driver in Chariho crash loses license – forever

Some on school board say Serra should step down

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