Underage Drinking & the Law

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

What’s wrong with this story?


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You’ve read this type of story a hundred times so what makes it notable? See if you can spot it.

Sunday night, an 18-year-old man in Copiague, NY was arrested by police for hosting a party for “about 100 to 150 minors drinking alcohol”, according to Associated Press. The article names the man, lists his address, age and upcoming court date.

What’s wrong with this arrest?

Under Suffolk county’s social host law, you have to be 19 to be liable. The law states “over the age of 18”, not 18 and over. The county’s attorney’s office made that determination in 2007 when the law went into effect. The police got it wrong.

If the police have evidence that he was serving or providing alcohol, then he is liable under the furnishing law, which applies to anyone who is not a juvenile. If he was seen drinking alcohol, then the police can cite him personally for consumption, since 18 is still considered underage drinking. However, unless the AP reporter is wrong about his age, he can not be held liable for being a social host.

One comment on “What’s wrong with this story?

  1. chris
    August 15, 2012

    Wow. Seems like lawmakes spent loads of time passing a whole bunch of ridiculous laws to prevent people from having a good time. Anything being done to get them overturned?

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