Underage Drinking & the Law

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

FAQs

SEE LEGAL DISCLAIMER

What is a Social Host?

You are a Social Host if you permit underage drinking in your residence or place of business. You don’t have to purchase, serve or provide the alcohol to underage drinkers. You just have to allow it to happen.

What are Social Host Laws (SHLs)?

They’re a wide-ranging – and confusing – group of criminal and civil laws aimed at the people (the host) who control the location (house, apartment, business, fraternity house) where underage drinking has occurred. It’s a law targeting inaction or passivity. Don’t confuse it with giving teens alcohol. That’s called furnishing – meaning to literally provide, serve or purchase – alcohol for minors. Every state criminalizes furnishing teens with alcohol. Not every state considers being a Social Host a criminal act, or even a negligent one.
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What happens if I get charged as a Social Host?

If police find teens drinking on your property, they can arrest or cite you with a criminal Social Host charge, most commonly a misdemeanor. If they believe any of the liquor came from your own cabinet, they can also add at least two more charges: “Endangering the welfare of a child” and “Unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree”. Each count (meaning each teen who has been allowed to drink) can result in fees and/or jail time. Many ordinances now have sliding scales for fees; the cost goes up if you get charged again. Jail time can be up to a year.

Last Thanksgiving weekend, when Stanford University Engineering Professor Bill Burnett was charged with 44 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor (case still pending), the fines totaled $110 thousand even though he had communicated broadly before the party that alcohol wasn’t permitted.

Being convicted also means you can lose your parental rights, your children in a custody battle, even your job. If your work requires a license – i.e., if you’re a dentist, a doctor, a teacher, an engineer, a therapist or social worker – your license could be at risk. If you’re known in your community, expect to get publicly humiliated.

Since minors can be charged as Social Hosts, your teen can get suspended from school, the team or Honor Society or miss getting into a preferred college. S/he can lose a scholarship or a good job. All of these can happen without a conviction. If your teen gets convicted, s/he can get a permanent record that will affect future prospects.

Most importantly, if a teen gets injured or killed on your property or after leaving your home, or injures or kills someone else, you can face felony charges. That means that in some states, like Illinois, you can spend the next few years defending yourself against some serious charges, up to and including manslaughter.
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Why are Social Host Laws (SHLs) controversial?

Five reasons:

  1. Guilt is irrelevant. Social Host Laws were created when it became too difficult to prove who provided the alcohol for a group of underage drinkers. Frustrated law enforcement complained they knew who the bad guys were but they couldn’t do anything about it. So, Social Host Laws have much simpler requirements than other alcohol beverage control laws: you’re liable if your name is on the lease or the deed or if you sent out the invitations.That makes the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” irrelevant. It’s now the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent any underage drinking. It’s a difficult standard to live up to, even for involved, caring parents. This is the main reason so many upstanding citizens have been charged under this law: doctors, teachers, school board members, town board members, state representatives, even a Chief of Police and a member of a community coalition advocating for tighter restrictions.
  2. They may be unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court overturned the state’s Social Host Law in 2002 because it was considered “unconstitutionally vague.” In February 2012, Massachusetts’ Supreme Court rejected a clause of the state’s civil law that applied to social hosts under the age of 21. In Minnesota, there have been several challenges to local ordinances for being unconstitutionally vague. State laws are under more scrutiny than local ordinances, which means a misstep at the state level will be challenged more quickly. Drafting state statutes is a complex and highly supervised activity while local ordinances are often copies of what the town council up the road did in their community. The result can be local ordinances which are excessively broad, poorly drafted and open to interpretation.
  3. Overly broad laws lead to arbitrary enforcement.  Constitutional law identifies the lack of “explicit standards for those who apply it” as one of the major paths to “encouraging arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement”. When a law is as broad as most Social Host Laws are, the sheriff at your door has to interpret the law as well as enforce it. That can easily translate into inconsistent and injudicious enforcement and favoritism.
  4. Mission creep. Social Host Laws were originally conceived to catch permissive parents and predatory grown ups. However, most versions have been rewritten so the definition of a Social Host has been broadened from adult to person. When the law targets adults, it’s defined as 21 (or 18) and older. When      the law says person, it’s defined as “any individual or group of individuals”. That can mean your 15-year-old or you.
  5. Follow the money. The fines paid by Social Hosts subsidize local law enforcement. Therefore, there’s a significant fiscal incentive for a cash-strapped police department to refocus weekend hours on catching Social Hosts.  Doing so requires minimal investigative work and provides a new revenue stream. With an average fine of $250 for a first offender, a parent can come home from dinner to learn they’re liable for $5,000 in fines for a party of twenty guests they didn’t plan or condone. Petty thieves are harder to catch and they’re not as valuable.

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What’s the difference between criminal and civil Social Host Laws (SHLs)?

States have two sets of laws, called codes; a criminal code and a civil code. The criminal code specifies the laws that police and state attorneys use to decide if you’ve broken the law. The civil code states what behavior exposes you to a lawsuit from an individual or group. Although the same behavior can result in both criminal and civil liability, different events trigger a criminal charge than ones that could end in a civil lawsuit.

Teens found drinking on your property lead to criminal charges, commonly misdemeanors or offenses. Criminal charges are pressed by the state, representing the people. See What happens if I get charged as a Social Host? for more details.

A civil lawsuit means an individual, or group, is suing you for money. A civil lawsuit can result from a teen getting injured or killed, injuring or killing someone else or causing property damage after drinking at your home. A lawyer usually files a civil action for a plaintiff. The plaintiff can be the teen, the person injured or owner of the damaged property. A lawsuit can result in hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars if you lose the case. And the cost is all yours; unlike coverage if someone slips on ice in your driveway, there’s no insurance product that covers you if you’re sued as a Social Host. Some states, like California, only have a civil code version of a Social Host Law.

Both criminal and civil liability cases can cost you an arm and a leg for attorney fees, months to years of your life, your reputation, your ability to sleep and your friendships.
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What other important distinctions are there?

Each state, county, city and community can have their own Social Host Laws or Ordinances. Sometimes they’re easy to identify because they’re titled “Social Host Law.” They can also be written as clauses or phrases within existing laws which makes them difficult to find.

The best of the Social Host Laws are straightforward and – for involved, caring parents – easy to avoid breaking. For example, to be criminally liable in Michigan, you need to be in control of the premises, know that minors are drinking and not do anything to correct it.

The most extreme versions don’t require your knowledge or presence. In fact, you can be charged if you didn’t do everything possible before the party you knew nothing about to prevent underage drinking. Many communities, including St. Paul, MN and Buffalo Grove, IL, have thought crime versions that fine any persons (including minors) who “permit, allow, host or fail to take reasonable steps to prevent” minors from drinking whether the “host” was home or not. The reasonable steps aren’t listed so the definition of “reasonable” is left to the opinion of the arresting officer. In Buffalo Grove, the fines begin at $1,000 for a first offender. In St. Paul, first offenders can also get up to 90 days in jail.

To read some sample laws, click here.
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How can I find out which types of Social Host Law are in effect in my area?

It’s easy to find state-level Social Host Laws on this site by visiting Social Host Laws by State.  Also, look at the top of the Resources & Links page where there are links to additional sites that will let you search state, county or town laws and ordinances. Most county and city governments have their own websites which offer the county or town codes, but Social Host Laws aren’t easily found. If a quick search of the codes, using the words “Social Host” in quotes, doesn’t work, try contacting one of the following: your local sheriff or police station; run a search for “Social Host” on your local newspaper’s website or the patch.com for your town; call the local chapter of MADD; or your public high school’s social worker or guidance office. Finally, for help deciphering the law, visit our Social Host Law Primer.
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54 comments on “FAQs

  1. Lacey Monn
    December 29, 2015

    my daughter was at a party along with a lot of other kids. I didn’t know about she’s 14. one of the girl’s mother called the cops but all the kids already left when the cops showed up (including my daughter) no they didn’t run from the cops, they didn’t know they were coming to get the girl.
    the cops are pressing charges on the one girl who was still there. can my daughter be charged even though the cops don’t actually know if she was intoxicated or not. she swears up and down she wasn’t drunk..

    • HM Epstein
      December 29, 2015

      There are so many factors that could be relevant but it would be hard for the police to press charges since they weren’t able to test her blood or breathalyze her that night. There are other issues. If the girl who was caught by the police gives names, there could be repercussions from your daughter’s school or sports team. Also any Facebook posts or Instagram posts of the party can be used as evidence by the school. The odds that she drank are higher than those that she abstained. It’s time for some frank talk and active listening from you. She has something important to share with you if you create a conducive atmosphere.

      • Lacey Monn
        December 30, 2015

        I checked her phone out there was no text or post about her drinking. her& her fiends who went together said they left after 20 mintues of being there cause that girl kept asking them to drink. she’s still grounded.
        the one girl already gave names out but the police said they weren’t pressing charges& now they are on the one girl.
        are they allowe to question the kids at school with out us?

        • HM Epstein
          December 30, 2015

          Yes, police can question minors without their parents. In some communities, the police don’t even have to inform the parents. It’s your role to educate your kids so they know they should never be questioned without a lawyer present.

  2. nick shane
    September 28, 2015

    I just turned 21 and some are my friends are still 18-23. If we go to a party and we all drink would I get in trouble? Or does only the host get in trouble?

    • HM Epstein
      September 28, 2015

      I can’t guarantee you won’t get into trouble since I have no idea what else you have planned. But you should not be arrested under a social host law as long as you don’t provide, serve, share or supply alcohol to your friends who are under the age of 21. It’s still possible that a police officer could decide to cite you if you bring alcohol to a party where you know minors are in attendance.

  3. Tiffany
    December 21, 2014

    I’m currently at a party (not my house/property). I’m twenty and not drinking. I was just here to be a designated driver. But there are apparently underage drinkers here. If the police showed up, could I be charged with anything?

    • HM Epstein
      December 21, 2014

      Probably not. If you’ve not had any alcohol nor brought any alcohol to the party, you’re not liable. However, that doesn’t mean that the police won’t cite you at the party and presume that you have been drinking. If the police show up, tell them that you volunteer for a breathalyzer and that you haven’t had anything to drink. Get the name of the officer that you volunteer the information to. However, your university, if you’re a student, or your employer could have an issue with you being present at an underage drinking party. It’s doubtful, but it’s possible.

  4. Chery
    October 30, 2014

    Although I’m totally against it, my fiancé allows underaged drinking at HIS home. If I’m there when he does this can, I be held liable for anything?

    • HM Epstein
      October 30, 2014

      Yes, it’s possible. It depends on your location and the circumstances. Who is drinking? If it’s just his own children drinking in his own residemce, that’s allowed in most states. However, if it’s other people’s children who are drinking, there are many possible circumstances under which you are potentially liable. Some municipalities require any adult who witnesses underage drinking to stop it or to contact the police. It’s a misdemeanor if you don’t. Do you know the signs of alcohol poisoning? What decision do you make if a minor becomes dangerously inebriated? Do you call 911 which means your fiancé may get fined, cited or arrested,, or do you try to provide medical help on your own, which makes you liable for any harm that comes to the minor. In addition, there’s civil liability. You may get sued by the parents of a minor who gets injured either in your fiancé’s home or in the car on their way to their own home. In that situation, where you may not end up being deemed responsible, it will cost you money and time to fight that lawsuit. You have three choices: take the risk, stay away when it’s happening or convince him that this decision puts you at equal risk and that you would like him to stop it for your sake.

      • Chery
        October 30, 2014

        Thank you for your quick reply. I too am a parent of children under the age of 21. I’m a high school teacher and along with the health of the underaged drinkers, my main concern is my teaching license. He and I have gone over this many times and when this happens I just leave and go to my own home, (which is what I will continue to do), where this is not issue.

        • HM Epstein
          October 30, 2014

          That’s smart. However, I think you used the term fiancé. I’m certain I don’t need to tell you that how to handle underage drinking is one of many child rearing decisions that is best to come to agreement on before households merge. It’s unfortunate that this is the new reality. I wish you many years of happiness together.

      • Patrick Silveira
        November 8, 2014

        Hello just picked up my 14 year old daughter at a home 45 mins away from my home town. my daughter was extremly intoxicated trowing up and passed out the mother of the boy hosting the get together states the kids at the party brought the alcohal. the kids stated my daughter had about 6 drinks (beer and shots) What should I do??

        • HM Epstein
          November 9, 2014

          You just picked her up? Take her to an ER or doctor immediately in case of alcohol toxicity. If you want to press charges, you then need to speak with the local police to learn if you have a social host law in the area. If you don’t wish to make this a legal issue, you can make it clear to the mother who hosted that your daughter is never allowed in her home again and share the info with all of your friends. But the most important thing is to very gently speak with your daughter – tomorrow – when she’s hungover and feeling like her head will explode, about the evening and let her tell you why she took that first drink. Start a dialogue – which means asking questions more than lecturing – about why this isn’t a good idea for her medically, socially or emotionally. Give her articles to read about stories of girls older than she who got into terrible trouble when they drank more than their body weight could sustain. Speak to your high school’s substance abuse counselor for ideas and resources. And love her very much, because we all made these kind of mistakes once or twice.

  5. Christian Garcia
    October 26, 2014

    I went to a party and I got really intoxicated and I’m 20 years old so I’m not supposed to be drinking but I got on the train and I believe that my wallet and phone was stolen and I want to file a police report with the stolen items but I don’t remember it happening exactly. I do know that they used my debit card to try and get food at a grocery store and stuff. Could I get in trouble for underage drinking if I file a police report?

    • HM Epstein
      October 26, 2014

      Hi Christian. You’re the victim of a crime, not a criminal. One of the reasons why underage drinking laws exist is to protect younger people from their own misadventures, like falling asleep on a train. Report the crime. Whether or not you were drinking, the relevant information is that your wallet and phone were stolen. That by itself is a crime. If they’re using your debit card to make purchases, that is an additional crime. Also, you can use the police report to get your debit card canceled and a new one issued. If your cell phone is insured, they will require a police report to send you a new phone. If it’s not insured, it might be covered under your parents home insurance policy. Good luck!

  6. Smith
    August 30, 2014

    If someone gives a 19 year old alcohol and he gets behind the wheel; then something bad really happens, who is responsible? He/She didn’t own the vehicle either. There were numerous adults around and most were drinking. They were at a house with several adults.

    • HM Epstein
      August 30, 2014

      It depends on the state and local laws. In many states, the host who permitted underage drinking in their home can then be sued in civil court AFTER they’re found criminally liable for social hosting or endangering a minor. It doesn’t matter who owned the vehicle unless that was where the drinking took place.

  7. Anomonyous
    July 15, 2014

    Should I report a parent that is allowing underage drinking along with marajuna use? A lot of times its easier to look the other way. If I should report it who do I call.

    • HM Epstein
      July 15, 2014

      Are you certain? Please be sure before you accuse someone. If you are then there are choices. Most communities have a party hotline. If not, call the police when you know a crime Is being committed. They would need to catch the wrong-doer in the act.

      • Anomonyous
        July 15, 2014

        Yes, I am a thousand percent sure. Unfortunately I do not have contact with that parent anymore. I have removed my daughter from that inviornment, so I will not be able to call the police to catch the act. I am concerned about her daughter and all the other minors that are involved with this parent. We do not know any of the kids involved so I can’t warn the other parents.

  8. Maurice
    June 15, 2014

    I have a question. I was at a get together 3 days ago at a friends house in the beginning there was 4 of us and he invited more. Im 17 along with the 4 of us then he invited more people and and there was around 30 there were a few people that were 21 everyone else was underage. Im not sure how alchohol got there but people were drinking i stayed sober and was trieing to get people out the house to leave but the guy who lived there was saying it was okay people were smoking marijuana also. My friend put a whole in the wall the one thats house it was. Then 2 guys were drunk no one knew who they were put a hole in a door but it was small. Someone blammed me for it though. Long story short the home owners came home to gind the house trashed and the two small holes and saying they are calling the police. But im worried because me and one of my other friends know it wasnt me can the cops do anything to me about this? I live in spring tx

    • HM Epstein
      June 15, 2014

      Maurice,
      If your facts are accurate, you’re not responsible for any damage. Since you were sober (and kudos for that), you don’t need to say anything unless you are directly accused. Meanwhile, you can ask around to see who else saw the damage happening and will support your assertion. There doesn’t seem to be any legal liability because the burden of proof is on the homeowners. If this devolves into a “he said/she said” situation, you can always tell the homeowners the name of the people who actually did the damage. Until then, don’t worry. Let us know what happens please.

  9. Kyle
    May 20, 2014

    Los Angeles county, California.

    Huge graduation party at my house that my housemates are throwing. I’m not going to be there as I’m military DEP (officer waiting on class date), so I didn’t want to risk being there and losing my commission. My name is on the lease along with the 6 other housemates throwing the party.

    1)Would California law hold me responsible if anything happened because my name is on the lease too or would it be the actual hosts (who are also on the lease)?
    2) if I would be held responsible, is there any benefit to not being there? If I’m screwed either way might as well be there to try and control the situation

    • Kyle
      May 20, 2014

      And for clarification, I’m thinking along the lines of not being at the party will avoid any criminal charges, and then I just have to hope no underage people hurt anyone driving (civil charge)?

      • HM Epstein
        May 20, 2014

        Same answer as below. You’re not hosting, serving or buying so you’re not liable.

    • HM Epstein
      May 20, 2014

      Presuming the party guests are under 21, you’re wise to miss it. Your one risk is if any of the inebriated housemates or guests say you were involved. You won’t risk losing your commission if you’re absent and can prove it. It would take an extremely cynical law enforcement officer to pursue you for knowing about the party and not reporting it. That’s the letter of the law but we’ve never heard about it being used in this type of situation. Just to catch parents who are (wink/wink) conveniently out for dinner when their children throw a party. If you can’t sleep elsewhere, just go out with other friends and stay out late. Enjoy yourself and make sure your housemates know they’re responsible for clean up.

      • Kyle
        May 20, 2014

        There most definitely will be underage there, because i guarantee no one will turn a girl away at the door because she’s only 20. Looks like I’ll be sitting this one out! Thanks for the quick reply, now I’m off to go be….responsible.

        • HM Epstein
          May 20, 2014

          If only all of our young men were! Enjoy your night.

  10. Barbara Nuesse
    May 5, 2014

    what if I am going out of town and my daughter throws a party (shes 20) and I have absolutely forbidden her to do this and I have no control over it because I am not here what can happen I live in south florida I m so afraid Im at the point of not ever going anywhere overnight (and she has to stay here to watch the animals….

    • HM Epstein
      May 5, 2014

      Hi Barbara:
      You can tell your daughter that, at her age, SHE could be found guilty of three different state laws plus be found civilly liable if anyone at the party gets injured or injures anyone or anything else (say a car accident) even hours later. The three laws often go hand-in-hand so the result commonly is thousands of dollars in fines plus up to a year in jail. There are no liability limits in civil cases, so she can put all of you at risk to also lose your home. Even if she wins the case, the legal fees routinely run in the six figures. Tell her the question isn’t if she’s trustworthy or not. It’s if all of her friends, and their friends, are trustworthy. Ask her what she would recommend to her daughter if she were you. Here are some websites to view:
      * http://socialhost.drugfree.org/state/florida
      * http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0827/Sections/0827.04.html

  11. Tammy
    April 30, 2014

    My underage son went to a party with friends and was given shots of alcohol by the host who later claimed to be a police officer (when they were looking for my sons backpack before he left and couldn’t locate it). My son was extremely intoxicated and left with friends. Went back later to look for his backpack, didn’t know where the house was, but found it, with the people inside the garage. He walked in and they held him for breaking and entering, which is a felony in Michigan. Plead out to a misdemeanor trespass and did not go to trial because the attorney said my son couldn’t remember anything it would be better to accept the deal. The hosts did not get charged because they claimed they didn’t know my son even though my son and friends were there earlier. The judges in the court are extreme in the ruling in other cases (they are known for it via attorneys) they have placed a $20k bond on him for a misdemeanor (he does not have a previous record), refuses to allow him to leave the state while on 18 month probation, even though we do not live there (we have to pay for a place for him to stay, he does not have any transportation, so he walks five miles to court and the required testing 4 times a week).
    Question: could we file a suit against the hosts for providing alcohol to a minor (under 21), knowing he was severely intoxicated allowed him to leave, which led to being charged for a crime because of him being intoxicated?

    • HM Epstein
      April 30, 2014

      Tammy, first of all, this is a heart-breaking situation. I’m sorry your family has to deal with this.

      It’s difficult to answer your specific case in this forum. The criminal and civil laws about underage drinking, social hosting, providing alcohol to a minor and penalties for misdemeanors vary by state, by county and often by municipality. Your son’s age should also impact the legal situation. A competent attorney will be able to answer all of your questions. Based on what you’ve written, I’m not certain your son has a competent attorney. Here are the issues and questions to consider.

      If the host is an active police officer, the judicial deck is stacked against your son but it isn’t an impossible situation. Just because the adult host is a police officer doesn’t mean that they can’t be brought to justice; it just makes it more difficult and requires an attorney who is going to fight for your son. Have you already accepted the deal? If not, I would get a different attorney, one with a history of successful litigation against law enforcement who have broken the law. There are plenty of police officers, government officials and civic leaders who have been caught by the Social Host Law. A recent example is this one in Ohio and a famous one is this one in Rhode Island. If you have accepted a plea deal, I’m not certain a new attorney can renegotiate it but I would definitely find out by interviewing a new attorney with a record of relevant wins. By the way, I don’t understand why a misdemeanor trespass requires testing four times a week, a $20K bond or the loss of a car.

      As a parent, my personal advice is to focus first on getting the criminal record cleared for your son. The 18 month probation means that if he messes up in any way, he will go to jail. I don’t know how old your son is; based on the info you provided, I’m assuming 17-20 years old. If you can’t get his criminal record cleared, this will follow him for the rest of his adult life. As a practical matter, you won’t be able to win a civil case if the criminal case has identified your son as the perpetrator. Please keep us informed. I’m also sending this to you by email so you can communicate privately if you prefer.

  12. Karch Arey
    February 8, 2014

    what happens if you are in college and get caught with underage drinking and they take you in an ambulance without permission?

    • HM Epstein
      February 8, 2014

      Karch, I hope you’re alright. This is a specific question and the answer is dependent on too many variables to address in this arena: legal, medical, situational… I suggest you seek a lawyer’s advice. There are many free or inexpensive sources if money is an issue. Ask at your local courthouse where to find the equivalent of Legal Aid in your area.

  13. lou murray
    September 4, 2013

    what if a parent provides the alcohol for the teenagers, , then their teen accidentally gets shot and killed at the party by another teenager

    • HM Epstein
      February 8, 2014

      Note: this poster received a private reply to protect their privacy.

  14. Anne
    July 17, 2013

    My daughter was dating a young man who supplied alcohol to my daughter. Both underage (18).The alcohol was supplied by a cousin of his and then drank at his home and at a pond near the home while the parents were upstairs. My daughter was drunk and having a breakdown by the time my husband and I were asked to come get her. We asked several times did she drink to the young man and his reply was no. We brought her home but my husband and I knew she was intoxicated and not realizing her actions or what she was saying. She went to her room to bed. We then were woken up by a second phone call saying My daughter was back at there home. Picked my daughter up again. The parents were saying she broke into there home. My daughter went in the front door which was not locked. She went back out due to the fact that she didnt find her boyfriend. Nothing was broken or damaged . I would like to know are these parents or the person who supplied the alcohol or both liable to be prosecuted for allowing underage drnking? We live in Massachusetts. And can I do anything now in that police were not involved?

    • HM Epstein
      February 8, 2014

      Note: this post received a private reply to protect their privacy.

  15. pistonki.pl
    June 29, 2013

    This is the perfect web site for everyone who would like to understand this topic.
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  16. Raoul Duke
    May 18, 2013

    Appreciate the information! It’s such a shame at how these ridiculous and absurd laws can ultimately ruin innocent people’s lives.

  17. Eva Luyz
    May 14, 2013

    I need to know if a Jr. College teacher see’s a 30yr old woman drinking beer on campus then woman kisses intimitly with the younger then share the beer what criminal charges could this older woman face?

    • HM Epstein
      May 14, 2013

      Hi Eva. Your question raises so many more questions that can’t be answered without knowing the location so we can identify the local law, the relationship of the couple, the age of the man, if law enforcement witnessed this vs. a citizen, etc. If this affects you personally, contact me privately through the Contact and Feedback link rather than discuss this in a public forum.

  18. ryan
    November 3, 2012

    what if people under aged came over your house drunk, but with nothing on them. And say they got injured on your property could you still get in trouble if you were the home owner?

    • HM Epstein
      November 3, 2012

      Ryan, it depends on several factors: 1. Will they admit they drank before arriving at your home, which might mean one or more of them is also admitting to a DUI? 2. Did the police find any open containers of beer, wine or alcohol? 3. Are you under 21? 4. Did they continue to drink while in your home? 5. Did you do anything to assess their level of inebriation? 6. Was the person who was injured inebriated or were they sober and hurt by someone else who was inebriated, and 7. Did you do anything to improve the situation, like call 911 or their parents or a doctor?

  19. SocialHostLaw.com
    April 24, 2012

    Hi Randy:
    This is less a Social Host Law question and more a New York State School Boards Association question. There is a code of conduct for school board members. Here’s the link. http://goo.gl/vJDBu I suggest checking there first.

    Of course, there may be other violations or charges that would be more serious initially. Turning to a good criminal defense attorney in your area for advice is also recommended.

  20. Randy
    April 24, 2012

    If a school board president is obligated to tell the school about underaged drinking that occurred in her house, is the school then obligated to notify authorities in New York State?

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