What parents need to know now about the new Social Host Laws
As parents send their children back to school, Connecticut parents of teens have something new and scary to study: a significant revision of an underage drinking law that may have thousands of residents paying big fines and facing jail time.
In the last few minutes of Connecticut’s state legislative session in May, several high-profile bills were passed which received a great deal of media attention, including those affecting education, the death penalty, access to palliative marijuana and voter registration. However, one bill, expected to affect every family in the state, slipped in under the radar and that bill becomes law on October 1, 2012.
Passage of Public Act 12-199 officially revised the state’s existing Social Host Law, impacting Connecticut residents who willfully or accidentally permit anyone under 21 to drink alcohol on their residential or business property. While that may sound like a great idea, the broadened scope of the amended law – Section 30-89a of the general statutes commonly known as the “Social Host Law” – makes it difficult for innocent residents to avoid triggering.
The Office of Fiscal Analysis reported that 719 Connecticut residents were charged under the relatively mild current Social Host Law in 2011. However, local police forces had complained that the law had a loophole that permitted too many complicit homeowners and older teens to avoid being charged. Additionally, law (click here to read more)