Most New Yorkers understand that serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 is a crime, but many persons dismiss underage drinking as nothing more than a rite of passage to adulthood. Despite this popular attitude, the serious legal consequences of providing alcohol to minors have been again demonstrated by a party hosted by a 19-year-old senior at a high school in Mineola.
While his classmates are preparing for the prom and graduation, this young man is preparing to face a judge. He has been charged with hosting a party at which persons under the age of 18 were drinking alcoholic beverages. The party was held at the teenager’s family home on a day that was designated as senior cut day. The party began at midday and attracted a total of 70 kids between the ages of 18 and 20. Neighbors used 911 to summon the police, and the host of the party was arrested.
According to the police, the defendant was “in control of the premises and became the responsible party.” While neighbors and others defended the young man as a “good kid,” the police spokesperson stated that the alleged violations of the New York Social Host Law are not minor issues. The parents were apparently not home, and their role in the alleged crime is unclear. If the parents did not know about the drinking, they are not chargeable under the social host law.
If the young man is convicted, he faces a fine and perhaps a year in jail. Serving alcohol to minors is often viewed as a trivial crime, but violating the statute may have serious long-term consequences. Anyone charged with making alcohol available to persons under the age of 18 may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in such cases. A lawyer with experience in underage drinking cases can offer a helpful analysis of the circumstance and criminal charges and an estimate of the chances of obtaining an acquittal.
Source: CBSNew York, “Long Island Teen Hit With Criminal Charges For Allegedly Hosting Underage Drinking Party,” May 22, 2015